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OX  v  THE 






A.  H-.   SAYOE, 





[A  U  Rights  reserved.} 

?  3  ? 


PRINTEP   BY   0.    QUEEN   AND   BON, 
178,    STUAND. 


A  WORD  of  apology  is  needed  for  the  numerous  repetitions 
in  the  following  chapters,  which  are  due  to  the  fact  that  the 
chapters  were  written  and  delivered  in  the  form  of  Lectures. 

I  cannot  guarantee  the  exactness  of  every  word  in  the  trans 
lations  of  the  cuneiform  texts  given  in  them.  The  meaning  of 
individual  words  may  at  times  be  more  precisely  defined  by  the 
discovery  of  fuller  materials,  even  where  it  has  been  supposed 
that  their  signification  has  been  fixed  with  certainty.  The  same 
fate  has  befallen  the  interpretation  of  the  Hebrew  Scriptures, 
and  is  still  more  likely  to  befall  a  progressive  study  like 

How  rapidly  progressive  the  latter  is,  may  be  gathered  from 
the  number  of  contributions  to  our  knowledge  of  Babylonian 
religion  made  since  the  following  Lectures  were  in  the  hands  of 
the  printer.  Prof.  Tiele,  in  a  Paper  entitled,  "De  Beteekenis 
van  Ea  en  zijn  Verhouding  tot  Maruduk  en  Nabu,"  has  tried  to 
show  that  Ea  was  originally  connected  with  the  fire ;  Mr.  Pinches 
has  published  a  late  Babylonian  text  in  the  Babylonian  Record, 
from  which  it  appears  that  the  esrd,  or  "  tithe,"  was  paid  to  the 
temple  of  the  Sun-god  not  only  by  individuals,  but  also  by 
towns;  and  Dr.  Jensen,  in  the  ZeitscJirift  fur  Assyriologie  (ii.  1), 
has  made  it  probable  that  the  azkaru  of  the  hymn  translated  on 
pp.  68,  69,  was  the  feast  of  the  new  moon. 


Certain  abbreviations  are  used  in  the  following  pages.  W.A.I. 
means  the  five  volumes  of  The  Cuneiform  Inscriptions  of  Western 
Asia,  published  by  the  Trustees  of  the  British  Museum ;  D.  P. 
denotes  "determinative  prefix;"  and  the  letters  D.T.,  R,  M., 
S.  and  K,  refer  to  tablets  marked  accordingly  in  the  British 
Museum.  "Unnumbered"  texts  mean  tablets  which  had  not 
been  catalogued  at  the  time  when  I  copied  them.  Words 
written  in  capitals  denote  ideographs  whose  true  pronunciation 
is  unknown. 

A.  H.  SAYCE. 

June  4th,  1887. 




Difficulties  of  the  subject— Character  and  age  of  the  materials —Modifi 
cation  of  earlier  views — Rise  of  Semitic  culture  in  the  court  of  Saigon 
of  Accad,  B.C.  3700  —  His  conquest  of  Cyprus — Intercourse  with 
Egypt — Earlier  culture  of  pre-Semitic  Chaldsea— Connection  between 
Babylonian  and  Hebrew  religion — Two  periods  of  Babylonian  influ 
ence  upon  the  Jews — Origin  of  the  names  of  Moses,  Joseph,  Saul, 
David  and  Solomon — Resemblances  between  the  Babylonian  and 
Jewish  priesthood  and  ritual — Babylonian  temples  and  sabbaths — 
Human  sacrifice — Unclean  meats  1 


Cyrus  a  worshipper  of  Bel-Merodach — View  of  the  priesthood  about 
his  conquest — Merodach  the  supreme  Bel  or  Baal  of  Babylon — Com 
parison  between  him  and  Yahveh — Babylonian  religion  characterised 
by  localisation — Temple  of  Bel — Doctrine  of  the  resurrection — 
Merodach  originally  the  Sun-god  of  Eridu — Nebo  the  divine  prophet 
of  Borsippa — Assur  of  Assyria — His  origin — His  resemblance  to 
Yahveh  of  Israel  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  ...  85 


General  character  of  Babylonian  religion — Ea  the  Culture-god — The 
pre-Semitic  monuments  of  Tel-loh  (B.C.  4000)— Early  trade  with 
India — Ea  as  god  of  the  sea — The  pre-Semitic  deities  creators,  the 
Semitic  deities  fathers — Two  centres  of  Babylonian  culture,  Eridu 
on  the  coast  and  Nipur  in  the  north— Mul-lil,  "the  lord  of  the 
ghost-world,"  the  god  of  Nipur— Mul-lil  the  older  Bel,  confused  with 
Merodach  the  younger  Bel— Other  gods :  Adar,  the  Moon- god,  the 
Sun-god,  &c.— The  Moon-god  of  Harran— The  goddesses  of  Semitic 
Babylonia  mere  reflections  of  the  male  deities — Anu,  Nergal,  and  the 
Air-god— Rimmon  and  Hadad— Doctrine  of  the  origin  of  evil— The 
seven  wicked  spirits  ...  .130 



The  descent  of  Istar  into  Hades — Tammuz- Adonis  the  slain  Sun-god — 
Originally  of  pre-Semitic  Eridu — The  world-tree — The  tree  of  life 
and  the  tree  of  knowledge — The  amours  of  Istar — Istar,  primitively 
the  goddess  of  the  earth,  identified  with  the  evening-star — In  the 
west,  as  Ashtoreth,  identified  with  the  moon — Of  pre-Semitic  origin 
— The  orgies  of  Istar- worship — The  purer  side  of  her  worship — Istar 
the  Artemis  and  Aphrodite  of  the  Greeks — Answers  of  the  oracle  of 
Istar  to  Esar-haddon — The  dream  of  Assur-bani-pal— The  Semitic 
gods  of  human  form,  the  pre-Semitic  of  animal  form — Early  Chaldsean 
totems — The  serpent — The  Babylonian  Prometheus  and  his  trans 
formation  into  a  bird — "  The  voice  of  the  Lord" — The  power  of  the 
name — Excommunication:  the  Chaldsean  fate — The  Plague-god — 
The  angel  of  destruction  seen  by  David  ...  ...  ...  ...  221 


The  Chaldsean  Rig- Veda — The  magical  texts — The  penitential  psalms — 
The  hymns  to  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara — Relative  ages  of  the  collec 
tions — The  service-books  of  the  temples — Accadian  the  sacred  lan 
guage  of  the  Semitic  Babylonian  priesthood — Shamanism — Gradual 
evolution  of  the  gods — Creation  of  the  state-religion  and  the  hierarchy 
of  the  gods — Degradation  of  the  spirits  of  the  earlier  faith — Con 
sciousness  of  sin — Views  of  the  future  state — The  mountain  of  the 
world — Hades  and  heaven  315 


Babylonian  cosmological  systems — Tiamat,  the  dragon  of  the  deep, 
personifies  chaos  and  is  slain  by  Merodach — The  creation  in  days — 
Anticipations  of  Darwin — Sabaism  and  Babylonian  astronomy — The 
priest  becomes  an  astrologer — Late  date  of  the  system — Worship  of 
rivers  and  mountains — Babylonian  Beth-els  and  the  pillars  of  the 
sun 367 

APPENDIX  I.  •••  413 

II.     Mr.  G.  Smith's  Account  of  the  Temple  of  Bel 437 

„       III.     The  Magical  Texts  441 

„       IV.     Hymns  to  the  Gods          479 

„         V.     The  Penitential  Psalms 521 

„       VI.     Litanies  to  the  Gods         532 


INDEX  545 




IT  was  with  considerable  diffidence  that  I  accepted  the 
invitation  of  the  Hibbert  Trustees  to  give  a  course  of 
Lectures  on  the  Eeligion  of  the  Ancient  Babylonians. 
The  subject  itself  is  new;  the  materials  for  treating  it 
are  still  scanty  and  defective;  and  the  workers  in  the 
field  have  been  few.  The  religion  of  the  Babylonians 
has,  it  is  true,  already  attracted  the  attention  of  "the 
Father  of  Assyriology,"  Sir  Henry  Eawlinson,  of  the 
brilliant  and  gifted  Francois  Lenormant,  of  the  eminent 
Dutch  scholar  Dr.  Tiele,  and  of  Dr.  Fritz  Hommel,  one 
of  the  ablest  of  the  younger  band  of  Assyrian  students ; 
but  no  attempt  has  yet  been  made  to  trace  its  origin  and 
history  in  a  systematic  manner.  The  attempt,  indeed, 
is  full  of  difficulty.  "We  have  to  build  up  a  fabric  out 
of  broken  and  half -deciphered  texts,  out  of  stray  allu 
sions  and  obscure  references,  out  of  monuments  many 
of  which  are  late  and  still  more  are  of  uncertain  age. 
If,  therefore,  my  account  of  Babylonian  religion  may 



seem  to  you  incomplete,  if  I  am  compelled  at  times  to 
break  ofi:  in  my  story  or  to  have  recourse  to  conjecture, 
I  must  crave  your  indulgence  and  ask  you  to  remember 
the  difficulties  of  the  task.  To  open  up  new  ground  is 
never  an  easy  matter,  more  especially  when  the  field  of 
research  is  vast;  and  a  new  discovery  may  at  any 
moment  overthrow  the  theories  we  have  formed,  or  give 
a  new  complexion  to  received  facts. 

I  may  as  well  confess  at  the  outset  that  had  I  known 
all  the  difficulties  I  was  about  to  meet  with,  I  should  never 
have  had  the  courage  to  face  them.  It  was  not  until  I 
was  committed  beyond  the  power  of  withdrawal  that  I 
began  fully  to  realise  how  great  they  were.  Unlike 
those  who  have  addressed  you  before  in  this  place,  I 
have  had  to  work  upon  materials  at  once  deficient  and 
fragmentary.  Mine  has  not  been  the  pleasant  labour  of 
marshalling  well-ascertained  facts  in  order,  or  of  select 
ing  and  arranging  masses  of  material,  the  very  abundance 
of  which  has  alone  caused  embarrassment.  On  the  con 
trary,  I  have  had  to  make  most  of  my  bricks  without 
straw.  Here  and  there,  indeed,  parts  of  the  subject  have 
been  lighted  up  in  a  way  that  left  little  to  be  desired, 
but  elsewhere  I  have  had  to  struggle  on  in  thick  dark 
ness  or  at  most  in  dim  twilight.  I  have  felt  as  in  a 
forest  where  the  moon  shone  at  times  through  open 
spaces  in  the  thick  foliage,  but  served  only  to  make  the 
surrounding  gloom  still  more  apparent,  and  where  I 
had  to  search  in  vain  for  a  clue  that  would  lead  me  from 
one  interval  of  light  to  another. 

The  sources  of  our  information  about  the  religion  of 
the  ancient  Babylonians  and  their  kinsfolk  the  Assyrians  I 
are  almost  wholly  monumental.  Beyond  a  few  stray  j 


notices  in  tlie  Old  Testament,  and  certain  statements 
found  in  classical  authors  which  are  for  the  most  part 
the  offspring  of  Greek  imagination,  our  knowledge  con 
cerning  it  is  derived  from  the  long-buried  records  of 
Nineveh  and  Babylon.  It  is  from  the  sculptures  that 
lined  the  walls  of  the  Assyrian  palaces,  from  the  inscrip 
tions  that  ran  across  them,  or  from  the  clay  tablets  that 
were  stored  within  the  libraries  of  the  great  cities,  that 
we  must  collect  our  materials  and  deduce  our  theories. 
Tradition  is  mute,  or  almost  so ;  between  the  old  Baby 
lonian  world  and  our  own  a  deep  gulf  yawns,  across 
which  we  have  to  build  a  bridge  by  the  help  of  texts 
that  explorers  have  disinterred  and  scholars  have  pain 
fully  deciphered.  But  the  study  of  these  texts  is  one 
of  no  ordinary  difficulty.  They  are  written  in  characters 
that  were  once  pictorial,  like  the  hieroglyphs  of  Egypt, 
and  were  intended  to  express  the  sounds  of  a  language 
wholly  different  from  that  of  the  Semitic  Babylonians 
and  Assyrians,  from  whom  most  of  our  inscriptions  come. 
The  result  of  these  two  facts  was  two-fold.  On  the  one 
hand,  every  character  had  more  than  one  value  when 
used  phonetically  to  denote  a  syllable;  on  the  other 
hand,  every  character  could  be  employed  ideographically 
to  represent  an  object  or  idea.  And  just  as  simple  ideas 
could  thus  be  represented  by  single  characters,  so  com 
pound  ideas  could  be  represented  by  a  combination  of 
characters.  In  the  language  of  the  primitive  inhabitants 
of  Babylonia,  the  world  beyond  the  grave  was  known  ay 
Arali,  and  was  imaged  as  a  dark  subterranean  region 
where  the  spirits  of  the  dead  kept  watch  over  hoards 
of  unnumbered  gold.  But  the  word  Arali  was  not 
written  phonetically,  nor  was  it  denoted  by  a  single 


4  LECTURE   I. 

ideograph;  the  old  Chaldean  chose  rather  to  represent 
it  by  three  separate  characters  which  would  literally 
mean  "the  house  of  the  land  of  death." 

When  the  Babylonians  or  Assyrians  desired  that  what 
they  wrote  should  be  read  easily,  they  adopted  devices 
which  enabled  them  to  overcome  the  cumbersome  obscur 
ity  of  their  system  of  writing.  A  historical  inscription, 
for  example,  may  be  read  with  little  difficulty;  it  is 
only  our  ignorance  of  the  signification  of  particular 
words  which  is  likely  to  cause  us  trouble  in  deciphering 
its  meaning.  But  when  we  come  to  deal  with  a  reli 
gious  text,  the  case  is  altogether  different.  Eeligion 
has  always  loved  to  cloak  itself  in  mystery,  and  a  priest 
hood  is  notoriously  averse  from  revealing  in  plain  lan 
guage  the  secrets  of  which  it  believes  itself  the  possessor. 
To  the  exoteric  world  it  speaks  in  parables ;  the  people 
that  knoweth  not  the  law  is  accursed.  The  priesthood 
of  Babylonia  formed  no  exception  to  the  general  rule. 
As  we  shall  see,  it  was  a  priesthood  at  once  powerful 
and  highly  organised,  the  parallel  of  which  can  hardly 
be  found  in  the  ancient  world.  We  need  not  wonder, 
therefore,  if  a  considerable  portion  of  the  sacred  texts 
which  it  has  bequeathed  to  us  were  intentionally  made 
difficult  of  interpretation ;  if  the  words  of  which  they 
consisted  were  expressed  by  ideographs  rather  than  writ 
ten  phonetically;  if  characters  were  used  with  strange 
and  far-fetched  values,  and  the  true  pronunciation  of 
divine  names  was  carefully  hidden  from  the  uninitiated 

But  these  are  not  all  the  difficulties  that  beset  us 
when  we  endeavour  to  penetrate  into  the  meaning  of  the 
religious  texts.  I  have  already  said  that  the  cuneiform 


system  of  writing  was  not  the  invention,  but  the  heritage, 
of  the  Semitic  Babylonians  and  Assyrians.  The  Semites 
of  the  historical  period,  those  subjects  of  Sennacherib 
and  Nebuchadnezzar  who  were  so  closely  allied  in  blood 
and  language  to  the  Hebrews,  were  not  the  first  occu 
pants  of  the  valleys  of  the  Tigris  and  Euphrates.  They 
had  been  preceded  by  a  population  which  in  default  of 
a  better  name  I  shall  term  Accadian  or  Proto-Chaldean 
throughout  these  Lectures,  and  which  was  in  no  wise 
related  to  them.  The  Accadians  spoke  an  agglutinative 
language,  a  language,  that  is  to  say,  which  resembled  in 
its  structure  the  languages  of  the  modern  Finns  or 
Turks,  and  their  physiological  features,  so  far  as  we  can 
trace  them  from  the  few  monuments  of  the  Accadian 
epoch  that  remain,  differed  very  markedly  from  those  of 
the  Semites.  It  was  to  the  Accadians  that  the  begin 
nings  of  Chaldean  culture  and  civilisation  were  due. 
They  were  the  teachers  and  masters  of  the  Semites,  not 
only  in  the  matter  of  writing  and  literature,  but  in  other 
elements  of  culture  as  well.  This  is  a  fact  so  startling, 
so  contrary  to  preconceived  ideas,  that  it  was  long 
refused  credence  by  the  leading  Orientalists  of  Europe 
who  had  not  occupied  themselves  with  cuneiform  studies. 
Even  to-day  there  are  scholars,  and  notably  one  who 
has  himself  achieved  success  in  Assyrian  research,  who 
still  refuse  to  believe  that  Babylonian  civilisation  was 
originally  the  creation  of  a  race  which  has  long  since 
fallen  into  the  rear  rank  of  human  progress.  But  un 
less  the  fact  is  admitted,  it  is  impossible  to  explain  the 
origin  either  of  the  cuneiform  system  of  writing  or  of 
that  system  of  theology  the  outlines  of  which  I  have 
undertaken  to  expound. 

6  LECTURE   I. 

Here,  then,  is  one  of  the  difficulties  against  which  the 
student  of  Babylonian  religion  has  to  contend.  We 
have  to  distinguish  the  Accadian  and  the  Semitic  ele 
ments  which  enter  into  it,  as  well  as  the  mixture  which 
the  meeting  of  these  elements  brought  about.  We  have 
to  determine  what  texts  are  Accadian,  what  are  Semitic, 
what,  finally,  are  due  to  a  syncretic  admixture  of  the  two. 
What  makes  the  task  one  of  more  than  ordinary  difficulty 
is  the  fact  that,  like  Latin  in  the  Middle  Ages,  the  dead 
or  dying  Accadian  became  a  sacred  language  among  the 
Semitic  priesthood  of  a  later  period.  Not  only  was  it 
considered  necessary  to  the  right  performance  of  the 
ritual  that  genuinely  old  Accadian  texts  should  be 
recited  in  their  original  language  and  with  a  correct 
pronunciation,  but  new  texts  were  composed  in  the 
extinct  idiom  of  Accad  which  bore  the  same  linguistic 
relation  to  the  older  ones  as  the  Latin  compositions  of 
the  mediaeval  monks  bear  to  the  works  of  the  Latin 
fathers.  Unfortunately,  in  the  present  state  of  our 
knowledge,  it  is  sometimes  impossible  to  tell  to  which  of 
these  two  classes  of  texts  a  document  belongs,  and  yet 
upon  the  right  determination  of  the  question  may  depend 
also  the  right  determination  of  the  development  of  Baby 
lonian  religion. 

The  Accadian  element  in  this  religion  is  productive 
of  yet  another  difficulty.  As  we  shall  see,  a  large  pro 
portion  of  the  deities  of  the  Babylonian  faith  had  their 
first  origin  in  the  beliefs  of  the  Accadian  people.  The 
names  by  which  they  were  addressed,  however,  were 
usually  written  ideographically,  not  phonetically,  after 
the  fashion  of  the  Accadian  scribes,  and  the  reading  of 
these  names  is  consequently  often  uncertain.  Even  if  a 


gloss  happens  to  inform  us  of  the  correct  reading  of  one 
of  these  names,  it  by  no  means  follows  that  we  thereby 
know  how  to  read  its  later  Semitic  equivalent.  The 
Semites  continued  to  represent  the  names  of  the  gods  by 
the  same  ideographs  that  had  been  used  by  their  Acca- 
dian  predecessors,  but  in  most  cases  they  naturally  ga 
them  a  different  pronunciation.  Even  now,  when  the 
study  of  Assyrian  has  so  far  advanced  that  the  Hebrew 
lexicographer  is  able  to  call  in  its  help  in  determining 
the  meaning  of  Hebrew  words,  and  when  an  ordinary 
historical  inscription  can  be  read  with  almost  as  much 
facility  as  a  page  of  the  Old  Testament,  we  are  still 
ignorant  of  the  true  name  of  one  of  the  chief  Assyrian 
divinities.  The  name  of  Adar,  commonly  assigned  by 
Assyriologists  to  the  Assyrian  war-god,  has  little  else 
to  rest  upon  except  the  fact  that  Adrammelech  or  "king 
Adar"  was  the  divinity  in  whose  honour  the  men  of 
Sepharvaim  burnt  their  children  in  the  fire,  according 
to  the  second  book  of  Kings  (xvii.  3 1).1  And  yet  the 
name  is  one  which  not  only  constantly  occurs  in  the 
Assyrian  inscriptions,  but  also  enters  into  the  name  of 
more  than  one  Assyrian  king.  Can  there  be  a  better 
illustration  of  the  difficulties  which  surround  the  student 

1  Lelimann  (De  Inscriptionibus  cuneatis  quce  pertinent  ad  Samas- 
sum-ukin,  p.  47)  has  made  it  probable  that  Adrammelech  represents 
the  goddess  Adar-malkat,  "Adar  the  queen,"  who  seems  to  be  identified 
with  A  or  Anunit,  the  goddess  "of  births"  (fame,  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  14), 
and  to  correspond  to  the  Semitic  goddess  Erua,  "  the  begetter."  In 
this  case  the  name  of  Sennacherib's  son,  Adrammelech,  must  be  con 
sidered  to  be  corrupt.  Erua,  however,  would  be  an  Aramaic  and  not 
a  Babylonian  form,  if  it  is  a  Semitic  word ;  the  Babylonian  is  Eritu, 
which  is  given  in  K  4195,  6,  as  a  name  of  Istar.  In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54, 
60,  and  S  1720,  2,  Era,  "the  handmaiden"  (W.  A.  I,  v.  19,  43),  is  an 
Accadian  title  of  Zarpanit 

8  LECTURE   I. 

of  Babylonian  religion,  as  well  as  of  the  extent  to  which 
he  is  deserted  by  classical  tradition  ? 

As  with  the  name  which  we  provisionally  read  Adar, 
so  also  is  it  with  the  name  which  we  provisionally  read 
Gisdhubar.  Gisdhubar  was  the  hero  of  the  great  Chaldean 
epic,  into  the  eleventh  book  of  which  was  woven  the 
story  of  the  Deluge;  he  had  been  the  fire-god  of  the 
Accadians  before  he  became  the  solar  hero  of  Semitic 
legend;  and  there  are  grounds  for  thinking  that  Mr. 
George  Smith  was  right  in  seeing  in  him  the  prototype 
of  the  Biblical  Mmrod.  Nevertheless,  the  only  certain 
fact  about  his  name  is  that  it  ended  in  the  sound  of  r. 
That  it  was  not  Gisdhubar  or  Izdubar,  however,  is 
almost  equally  certain.  This  would  be  merely  the  pho 
netic  reading  of  the  three  ideographs  which  compose  the 
name,  and  characters  when  used  as  ideographs  were 
naturally  not  read  phonetically.1 

I  have  not  yet  finished  my  enumeration  of  the  diffi 
culties  and  obstacles  that  meet  the  inquirer  into  the 
nature  and  history  of  Babylonian  religion  on  the  very 
threshold  of  his  researches.  The  worst  has  still  to  be 
mentioned.  With  the  exception  of  the  historical  inscrip 
tions  which  adorned  the  sculptured  slabs  of  the  Assyrian 

1  Hommel  (Proc.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch.  Ap.  1866,  p.  119)  believes  that  he 
has  found  the  true  reading  of  the  name,  and  a  proof  of  its  correspond 
ence  with  the  Semitic  JSTimrod,  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  2.  21,  22.,  23.  3.  26, 
27,  where  the  Semitic  Namratsit  answers  to  the  name  of  an  Accadian 
divinity  which  may  be  read  Gi-isdu-par-ra  or  Gis-du-par-ra.  But  from 
S  949,  Obv.  6,  where  the  Sun-god  is  called  HI  namratsit,  it  is  clear 
that  namratsit  is  merely  personified  difficulty,  being  the  feminine  of 
the  common  adjective  namratsu,  "  difficult."  The  Accadian  divinity, 
therefore,  is  the  goddess  of  difficulty,  and  can  have  no  connection  with 
a  male  Fire-god.  Her  name  should  probably  be  read  Gi-ib-bir-ra,  a 
derivative  from  gib,  the  Accadian  form  of  gig,  "  difficult." 


palaces  or  were  inscribed  on  clay  cylinders  buried  at  the 
angles  of  a  royal  building,  our  documentary  materials  con 
sist  entirely  of  clay  tablets  covered  with  minute  characters. 
In  Assyria,  the  tablets  were  baked  in  the  kiln  after  being 
inscribed ;  for  this  purpose  holes  were  made  in  the  clay 
to  allow  the  escape  of  superfluous  moisture,  and  the  fear 
of  fracture  prevented  the  tablets  from  being  of  a  great 
size.  In  the  more  southern  climate  of  Babylonia,  the 
tablets  were  generally  dried  in  the  sun,  the  result  being 
the  disintegration  of  the  clay  in  the  course  of  centuries, 
the  surface  of  the  brick  being  sometimes  reduced  to 
powder,  while  at  other  times  the  whole  brick  has  been 
shivered  into  atoms.  But  apart  from  the  records  of 
"  the  banking  firm"  of  the  Egibi  family,  which  carried  on 
its  business  from  the  time  of  Nebuchadnezzar  and  his 
predecessors  to  that  of  Darius  Hystaspis,  we  possess  as 
yet  comparatively  few  of  the  tablets  that  once  stocked 
the  libraries  of  Babylonia  and  must  still  be  lying  buried 
beneath  the  ground.  The  main  bulk  of  our  collection 
comes  from  the  great  library  of  Nineveh,  which  occupied 
one  of  the  upper  rooms  in  the  palace  of  Assur-bani-pal 
at  Kouyunjik.  It  stood  within  the  precincts  of  the 
temple  of  Nebo,1  and  its  walls  were  lined  with  shelves, 
on  which  were  laid  the  clay  books  of  Assyria  or  the  rolls 
of  papyrus  which  have  long  since  perished.2  The  library 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  36,  27 :  "I  placed  (the  old  tablets  and  papyri)  in  the 
inner  chamber  of  the  temple  of  Nebo,  his  lord,  which  is  in  Nineveh." 
The  bit  namari,  or  "observatory,"  on  the  contrary,  was  the  "tower" 
of  the  temple  of  Istar,  whose  construction  and  dimensions  are  described 
in  an  interesting   but  unfortunately  mutilated  text  (S  1894).      Its 
breadth,  we  are  told,  was  154J  cubits. 

2  For  the  papyrus,  frequently  mentioned  in  the  colophons  of  Assur- 
bani-pal's  tablets,  under  the  name  of  GIS-LI-KHU-SI,  or  "  grass  of  guid- 

10  LECTURE   I. 

consisted  for  the  most  part  of  copies  or  editions  of  older 
works  that  had  been  brought  from  Babylonia,  and  dili 
gently  copied  by  numerous  scribes,  like  the  "  pro  verbs  of 
Solomon  which  the  men  of  Hezekiah,  king  of  Judah, 
copied  out."1  The  library  had  been  transferred  from 
Calah  by  Sennacherib  towards  the  latter  part  of  his 
reign,2  but  the  larger  portion  of  the  collection  was  got 
together  by  Assur-bani-pal,  the  son  of  Esar-haddon,  and 
the  Sardanapallos  of  the  Greeks.  He  was  the  first, 
indeed  we  may  say  the  only,  Assyrian  monarch  who 
really  cared  for  literature  and  learning.  His  predecessors 
had  been  men  of  war;  if  they  established  libraries,  it 
was  only  from  imitation  of  their  more  cultivated  neigh 
bours  in  Babylonia,  and  a  desire  to  remain  on  good 
terms  with  the  powerful  classes  of  scribes  and  priests. 
But  Assur-bani-pal,  with  all  his  luxury  and  love  of  dis 
play — or  perhaps  by  reason  of  it — was  a  genuine  lover 
of  books.  "When  rebellion  had  been  quelled  in  Baby 
lonia,  and  the  Babylonian  cities  had  been  taken  by  storm, 
the  spoil  that  was  most  acceptable  to  the  Assyrian  king 
were  the  written  volumes  that  their  libraries  contained. 

ing,"  see  my  remarks  in  the  Zeitsclirift  fur  Keilschriftforschung,  ii. 
3,  p.  208.  Another  ideographic  name  was  Gis-zu,  "  vegetable  of  know 
ledge"  (W.A.I,  ii.  36,  11).  The  Assyrian  name  was  aru,  literally 
"leaf,"  E2,  iii.  Rev.  7.  GIS-LI-KHU-SI  was  pronounced  liu  or  Uvu  in 
Assyrian,  the  Hebrew  luaJch,  of  which  the  Assyrian  lavu  is  another 

1  Prov.  xxv.  1. 

2  Nebo-zuqub-yukin,  who  was  chief  librarian  from  the  6th  year  of 
Sargon  (B.C.  716)  to  the  22nd  year  of  Sennacherib  (B.C.  684),  does 
not  seem  to  have  quitted  Calah.     So  far  as  we  know,  the  first  work 
written  under  his  direction  had  been  a  copy  of  a  text  of  the  standard 
work  on  astrology,  "  The  Illumination  of  Bel,"  which  had  been  brought 
from  Babylon  to  the  library  at  Calah. 


No  present  could  be  sent  him  which  he  valued  more 
than  some  old  text  from  Erech  or  Ur  or  Babylon.  But 
naturally  it  was  the  works  which  related  to  Assyria,  or 
to  the  special  studies  of  its  royal  masters,  that  were  most 
sought  after.  The  Assyrian  cared  little  for  the  annalistic 
records  of  the  Babylonian  kings,  or  for  the  myths  and 
legends  which  enveloped  the  childhood  of  the  Babylonian 
cities  and  contained  no  reference  to  things  Assyrian ;  it 
was  only  where  the  interest  of  the  story  extended  beyond 
the  frontiers  of  Babylonia,  or  where  the  religious  texts 
held  a  place  in  the  ritual  of  the  Assyrian  priesthood, 
that  it  was  thought  worth  while  to  transport  them  to  a 
northern  home.  If  the  theology  was  Assyrian  as  well 
as  Babylonian,  or  if  a  legend  was  as  popular  in  Assyria 
as  it  had  been  in  Babylonia,  or  if,  finally,  a  branch  of 
study  had  a  special  attraction  for  Assyrian  readers, 
the  works  embodying  these  subjects  were  transferred 
to  the  library  of  Nineveh,  and  there  re-edited  by  the 
Assyrian  scribes.  Hence  it  is  that  certain  sides  of  the 
old  theology  are  represented  so  fully  in  Assyrian  litera 
ture,  while  other  sides  are  not  represented  at  all ;  hence, 
too,  it  is  that  the  drawers  of  the  British  Museum  are 
filled  with  tablets  on  the  pseudo-science  of  omens  which 
have  little  save  a  philological  importance  attaching  to 

The  library  was  open,  it  would  seem,  to  all  comers, 
and  Assur-bani-pal  did  his  utmost  to  attract  "readers" 
to  the  "inspection"  and  study  of  the  books  it  contained. 
But  the  literary  age  of  Assyria  was  short-lived.  Even 
before  Assur-bani-pal  died,  the  mighty  empire  he  had 
inherited  was  tottering  to  its  fall.  Egypt  had  been  lost 
to  it  for  ever;  Babylonia  was  clamouring  for  indepen- 

12  LECTURE  I. 

dence ;  and  the  semi-barbarous  nations  of  the  north  and 
east  were  threatening  its  borders.  Ere  the  century 
closed,  Nineveh  was  taken  by  its  enemies,  and  its  palaces 
sacked  and  destroyed. 

The  library  of  Kouyunjik  shared  in  the  common  over 
throw.  Its  papyri  and  leathern  scrolls  were  burned 
with  fire,  and  its  clay  books  fell  in  shattered  confusion 
among  the  ruins  below.  There  they  lay  for  more  than 
two  thousand  years,  covered  by  the  friendly  dust  of  de 
caying  bricks,  until  Sir  A.  H.  Layard  discovered  the 
old  library  and  revealed  its  contents  to  the  world  of 
to-day.  His  excavations  have  been  followed  by  those  of 
Mr.  George  Smith  and  Mr.  Hormuzd  Eassam,  and  the 
greater  portion  of  Assur-bani-pal's  library  is  now  in  the 
British  Museum.  It  is  out  of  its  age-worn  fragments 
that  the  story  I  have  to  tell  in  this  course  of  Lectures 
has  been  mainly  put  together. 

But  the  sketch  I  have  given  of  its  history  is  sufficient 
to  show  how  hard  such  a  task  must  necessarily  be.  In 
the  first  place,  the  library  of  Nineveh  was  only  one  of 
the  many  libraries  which  once  existed  in  the  cities  of 
Assyria  and  Babylonia.  Its  founders  never  aimed  at 
completeness,  or  intended  to  deposit  in  it  more  than  a 
portion  of  the  ancient  literature  of  Babylonia.  Then, 
further,  even  this  literature  was  not  always  copied  in 
full.  From  time  to  time  the  text  is  broken  off,  and  the 
words  "  lacuna"  or  " recent  fracture"  appear  upon  the 
tablet.  The  original  text,  it  is  clear,  was  not  perfect ; 
the  tablet  which  was  copied  had  been  injured,  and  was 
thus  no  longer  legible  throughout.  Such  indications, 
however,  of  the  faultiness  of  the  ediUo  princeps  are  a 
good  proof  that  the  Assyrian  scribes  did  their  best  to 


reproduce  it  with  accuracy,  and  that  if  they  failed  to  do 
so  it  was  through  no  fault  of  their  own.  But  they  did 
fail  sometimes.  The  Babylonian  forms  of  the  cuneiform 
characters  are  often  hard  to  read,  and  there  was  no 
standard  official  script  in  Babylonia  such  as  there  was  in 
Assyria.  Education  was  not  in  the  hands  of  a  single 
class,  as  was  the  case  in  the  latter  country ;  most  Baby 
lonians  could  read  and  write,  and  consequently  the  forms 
of  handwriting  found  upon  their  monuments  are  almost 
as  numerous  as  in  the  modern  world.  Hence  it  is  that 
the  Assyrian  copyist  sometimes  mistook  a  Babylonian 
character,  and  represented  it  by  a  wrong  equivalent. 

The  most  serious  result,  however,  of  the  fact  that  the 
library  of  Nineveh  mainly  consisted  of  terra-cotta  tablets, 
broken  and  scattered  in  wild  confusion  when  the  city  was 
destroyed,  still  remains  to  be  told.  The  larger  propor 
tion  of  the  texts  we  have  to  use  are  imperfect.  Many 
of  them  are  made  up  of  small  fragments,  which  have 
been  pieced  together  by  the  patient  labour  of  the  As 
syrian  scholars  in  the  British  Museum.  In  other  cases, 
only  a  fragment,  not  unfrequently  a  minute  fragment, 
of  a  text  has  been  preserved.  Often,  therefore,  we  come 
across  a  text  which  would  seem  to  throw  an  important 
light  on  some  department  of  Assyrian  thought  and  life 
if  only  we  had  the  clue  to  its  meaning,  but  the  text  is 
broken  just  where  that  clue  would  have  been  found. 
This  fragmentary  character  of  our  documents,  in  fact,  is 
not  only  tantalising  to  the  student,  but  it  may  be  the 
cause  of  serious  error.  Where  we  have  only  fragments 
of  a  text,  it  is  not  impossible  that  we  may  wholly  mis 
conceive  their  relation  and  meaning,  and  so  build  theories 
upon  them  which  the  discovery  of  the  missing  portions 

14  LECTURE   I. 

of  the  tablet  would  overthrow.  This  is  especially  the 
case  in  the  province  of  religion  and  mythology,  where  it 
is  so  easy  to  put  a  false  construction  upon  isolated  pas 
sages,  the  context  of  which  must  be  supplied  from  con 
jecture.  We  know  from  experience  what  strange  inter 
pretations  have  been  imposed  upon  passages  of  the  Bible 
that  have  been  torn  from  their  context ;  the  student  of 
Babylonian  religion  must  therefore  be  forgiven  if  the 
condition  in  which  his  materials  have  reached  him  should 
at  times  lead  him  astray.  Moreover,  it  must  be  remem 
bered  that  the  fragmentary  condition  of  our  texts  makes 
the  work  of  the  decipherer  much  harder  than  it  would 
otherwise  be.  A  new  word  or  an  obscure  phrase  is  often 
made  perfectly  intelligible  by  the  context;  but  where 
this  fails  us,  all  interpretation  must  necessarily  be  uncer 
tain,  if  not  impossible. 

There  is  yet  another  difficulty  connected  with  our 
needful  dependence  upon  the  broken  tablets  of  Assur- 
bani-paPs  library — a  difficulty,  however,  that  would  not 
be  felt  except  by  the  student  of  Babylonian  religion. 
None  of  the  tablets  that  are  derived  from  it  are  older 
than  the  eighth  century  before  our  era ;  how  then  are 
we  to  determine  the  relative  ages  of  the  various  religious 
or  mythological  documents  which  are  embodied  in  them  ? 
It  is  true  that  we  are  generally  told  to  what  library  of 
Babylonia  the  original  text  belonged,  but  we  look  in 
vain  for  any  indication  of  date.  And  yet  an  approxi 
mately  accurate  chronology  is  absolutely  indispensable 
for  a  history  of  religion  and  religious  ideas.  If,  indeed, 
we  could  explore  the  Babylonian  libraries  themselves, 
there  would  be  a  better  chance  of  our  discovering  the 
relative  antiquity  of  the  documents  they  may  still  con- 



tain.  But  at  present  this  is  impossible,  and  except  in  a 
few  instances  we  have  to  be  content  with  the  copies  of 
the  older  documents  which  were  made  by  the  Assyrian 

I  am  bound  to  confess  that  the  difficulty  is  a  yery 
formidable  one.  It  was  not  until  I  had  begun  to  test 
the  theories  hitherto  put  forward  regarding  the  develop 
ment  of  Babylonian  religion,  and  had  tried  to  see  what 
could  be  fairly  deduced  from  the  texts  themselves,  that  I 
realised  how  formidable  it  actually  was.  There  is  only 
one  way  of  meeting  it.  It  is  only  by  a  process  of  care 
ful  and  cautious  induction,  by  noting  every  indication  of 
date,  whether  linguistic  or  otherwise,  which  a  text  may 
offer,  by  comparing  our  materials  one  with  another,  and 
calling  in  the  help  of  what  we  have  recently  learnt  about 
Babylonian  history — above  all,  by  following  the  method 
of  nature  and  science  in  working  from  the  known  to  the 
unknown — that  it  is  possible  to  arrive  at  any  conclusions 
at  all.  If,  therefore,  I  shall  seem  in  the  course  of  these 
Lectures  to  speak  less  positively  about  the  early  develop 
ment  of  Babylonian  theology  than  my  predecessors  in 
the  same  field  have  done,  or  than  I  should  have  done 
myself  a  few  years  ago,  let  it  be  borne  in  mind  that  the 
fault  lies  not  in  me  but  in  the  want  of  adequate  materials. 
It  is  useless  to  form  theories  which  may  be  overthrown 
at  any  moment,  and  which  fail  to  explain  all  the  known 

So  far,  I  fear,  I  have  done  little  else  than  lay  before 
you  a  dreary  catalogue  of  the  difficulties  and  obstacles 
that  meet  the  historian  of  Babylonian  religion  at  the 
very  outset  of  his  inquiry.  If  the  picture  had  no  other 
Bide,  if  there  were  little  or  nothing  to  counterbalance 

16  LECTURE   I. 

the  difficulties,  we  might  as  well  admit  that  the  time  for 
investigating  the  theological  conceptions  of  the  ancient 
Babylonians  and  Assyrians  had  not  yet  come,  and  that 
we  must  be  content  to  leave  the  subject  where  it  was 
left  by  Sir  H.  Eawlinson  nearly  thirty  years  ago.  For 
tunately,  however,  this  is  not  the  case.  Mutilated  and 
broken  as  they  are,  we  still  have  texts  sufficient  to 
enable  us  at  all  events  to  sketch  the  outlines  of  Baby 
lonian  theology — nay,  from  time  to  time  to  fill  them  in  as 
well.  The  Babylonians  were  not  content  with  merely 
editing  their  ritual  and  religious  hymns  or  their  myths 
about  the  gods  and  heroes ;  they  also  compiled  commen 
taries  and  explanatory  text-books  which  gave  philological 
and  other  information  about  the  older  religious  literature ; 
they  drew  up  lists  of  the  deities  and  their  various  titles ; 
they  described  the  temples  in  which  their  images  were 
placed,  and  the  relation  of  the  different  members  of  the 
divine  hierarchy  one  to  another.  They  even  showed  an 
interest  in  the  gods  of  other  countries,  and  the  names 
given  by  neighbouring  nations  to  divinities  which  they 
identified  with  their  own  are  at  times  recorded.  It  is 
true  that  many  of  the  sacred  texts  were  so  written  as  to 
be  intelligible  only  to  the  initiated;  but  the  initiated 
were  provided  with  keys  and  glosses,  many  of  which  are 
in  our  hands.  In  some  respects,  therefore,  we  are  better 
off  than  the  ordinary  Babylonian  himself  would  have 
been.  "We  can  penetrate  into  the  real  meaning  of  docu 
ments  which  to  him  were  a  sealed  book.  Nay,  more 
than  this.  The  researches  that  have  been  made  during 
the  last  half- century  into  the  creeds  and  beliefs  of  the 
nations  of  the  world  both  past  and  present,  have  given 
us  a  clue  to  the  interpretation  of  these  documents  which 


even  the  initiated  priests  did  not  possess.  We  can  guess 
at  the  origin  and  primary  meaning  of  rites  and  cere 
monies,  of  beliefs  and  myths,  which  the  Babylonians 
knew  of  only  in  their  later  form  and  under  their  tradi 
tional  guise.  To  them,  Gisdhubar,  the  hero  of  their  great 
epic,  was  but  a  champion  and  conqueror  of  old  time, 
whose  deeds  were  performed  on  the  soil  of  Babylonia, 
and  whose  history  was  as  real  as  that  of  the  sovereigns 
of  their  own  day.  "We,  on  the  contrary,  can  penetrate 
beneath  the  myths  which  have  grown  up  around  his 
name,  and  can  discover  in  him  the  lineaments  of  a  solar 
hero  who  was  himself  but  the  transformed  descendant 
of  a  humbler  god  of  fire. 

In  spite,  however,  of  the  aids  that  have  been  provided 
for  the  modern  student  among  the  relics  of  the  great 
library  of  Nineveh,  his  two  chief  difficulties  still  remain  : 
the  fragmentary  character  of  his  materials  and  his  igno 
rance  of  the  true  chronology  of  the  larger  portion  of  them. 

This  last  is  the  most  serious  difficulty  of  all,  since 
recent  discoveries  have  so  enlarged  our  ideas  of  the  anti 
quity  of  Babylonian  civilisation,  and  have  so  revolu 
tionised  the  views  into  which  we  had  comfortably  settled 
down,  that  our  conclusions  on  the  development  of  Baby 
lonian  religion  must  be  completely  modified.  At  the  risk, 
therefore,  of  making  this  first  Lecture  a  dull  and  unin 
teresting  one,  and  of  seeming  to  wander  from  the  subject 
upon  which  I  have  been  called  to  speak,  I  must  enter 
into  some  details  as  to  the  early  history  of  the  population 
among  whom  the  religious  system  revealed  to  us  by  the 
cuneiform  inscriptions  first  originated  and  developed. 

Until  very  lately,  Assyrian  scholars  had  fancied  that 
the  rise  and  early  history  of  Babylonia  could  be  already 


18  LECTURE    I. 

traced  in  its  main  outlines.  By  combining  the  state 
ments  of  classical  authors  with  the  data  furnished  by 
such  early  monuments  as  we  possessed,  a  consistent 
scheme  seemed  to  have  been  made  out.  About  three 
thousand  years  before  our  era,  it  was  supposed,  the 
smaller  states  which  occupied  the  fertile  plain  of  Baby 
lonia  were  united  into  a  single  monarchy,  the  capital  of 
which  was  "Ur  of  the  Chaldees,"  the  modern  Mugheir, 
on  the  western  side  of  the  Euphrates.  The  whole  country 
was  at  this  period  under  the  domination  of  the  Accadians, 
though  the  Semitic  nomad  and  trader  were  already 
beginning  to  make  their  appearance.  It  was  divided 
into  two  provinces,  the  northern  called  Accad,  and  the 
southern  Sumer  or  Shinar,  in  which  two  separate,  though 
closely  allied,  dialects  were  spoken.  Now  and  again, 
however,  the  two  provinces  were  independent  of  one  ano 
ther,  and  there  were  even  times  when  the  smaller  states 
comprised  in  them  successfully  re-asserted  their  former 
freedom.  About  2000  B.C.,  the  Accadian  was  gradually 
superseded  by  the  Semite,  and  before  long  the  Accadian 
language  itself  became  extinct,  remaining  only  as  the 
sacred  and  learned  language  of  religion  and  law.  The 
rise  of  Semitic  supremacy  was  marked  by  the  reigns  oi 
Sargon  I.  and  his  son  Naram-Sin,  who  established  their 
seat  at  Accad,  near  Sippara,  where  they  founded  an 
important  library,  and  from  whence  they  led  military 
expeditions  as  far  westward  as  the  Mediterranean  Sea. 
The  overthrow  of  Sargon's  dynasty,  however,  was  soon 
brought  about  through  the  conquest  of  Babylonia  by 
Khammuragas,  a  Kosssean  from  the  mountains  of  Elam.  i 
He  made  Babylon  for  the  first  time  the  capital  of  the  | 
country,  and  founded  a  dynasty  whose  rule  lasted  for  ! 


several  centuries.  Before  the  Kosssean  conquest,  tlie 
Babylonian  system  of  religion  was  already  complete. 
It  emanated  from  the  primitive  Accadian  population, 
though  it  was  afterwards  adopted  and  transformed  by 
their  Semitic  successors.  It  was  originally  Shamanistic, 
like  the  native  religions  of  the  Siberians  or  Lapps. 
The  sorcerer  took  the  place  of  the  priest,  magical  incan 
tations  the  place  of  a  ritual,  and  innumerable  spirits  the 
place  of  gods.  By  degrees,  however,  these  earlier  con 
ceptions  became  modified ;  a  priesthood  began  to  establish 
itself;  and  as  a  necessary  consequence  some  of  the  ele 
mental  spirits  were  raised  to  the  rank  of  deities.  The 
old  magical  incantations,  too,  gave  way  to  hymns  in 
honour  of  the  new  gods,  among  whom  the  Sun-god  was 
specially  prominent,  and  these  hymns  came  in  time  to 
form  a  collection  similar  to  that  of  the  Hindu  Big-Veda, 
and  were  accounted  equally  sacred.  This  process  of 
religious  development  was  assisted  by  the  Semitic  occu 
pation  of  Babylonia.  The  Semites  brought  with  them 
new  theological  conceptions.  With  them  the  Sun-god, 
in  his  two-fold  aspect  of  benefactor  and  destroyer,  was 
the  supreme  object  of  worship,  all  other  deities  being 
resolvable  into  phases  or  attributes  of  the  supreme  Baal. 
At  his  side  stood  his  female  double  and  reflection,  the 
goddess  of  fertility,  who  was  found  again  under  various 
names  and  titles  at  the  side  of  every  other  deity.  The 
union  of  these  Semitic  religious  conceptions  with  the 
developing  creed  of  Accad  produced  a  state-religion, 
watched  over  and  directed  by  a  powerful  priesthood, 
which  continued  more  or  less  unaltered  down  to  the 
days  of  Nebuchadnezzar  and  his  successors.  It  was  this 
state-religion  that  was  carried  by  the  Semitic  Assyrians 

c  2 

20  LECTURE   I. 

into  their  home  on  the  banks  of  the  Tigris,  where  it 
underwent  one  or  two  modifications,  in  all  essential 
respects,  however,  remaining  unchanged. 

Now  there  is  much  in  this  neat  and  self-consistent 
account  of  Babylonian  religion  which  rests  on  the  autho 
rity  of  the  cuneiform  documents,  and  about  which  there 
fore  there  is  no  room  for  dispute.  But  the  inferences 
which  have  been  drawn  from  the  facts  presented  by  these 
cuneiform  documents,  as  well  as  the  general  theory  by 
which  the  inferences  have  been  compacted  together  into 
a  consistent  whole,  are,  it  must  be  remembered,  inferences 
and  theory  only.  Owing  to  the  fragmentary  nature  of 
the  evidence,  it  has  been  necessary  to  supplement  the 
deficiencies  of  the  record  by  assumptions  for  which  there 
is  no  documentary  testimony  whatever.  The  dates  which 
form  the  skeleton,  as  it  were,  of  the  whole  theory,  have 
been  derived  from  Greek  and  Latin  writers.  While 
certain  portions  of  the  scheme  have  been  definitely 
acquired  by  science,  since  they  embody  monumental  facts, 
other  portions  are  destitute  of  any  other  foundation  than 
the  combinatory  powers  of  modern  scholars.  The  scheme, 
therefore,  must  be  regarded  as  a  mere  working  hypothesis, 
as  one  of  those  provisional  theories  which  science  is  con 
stantly  compelled  to  put  forward  in  order  to  co-ordinate 
and  combine  the  facts  known  at  the  time,  but  which 
must  give  way  to  other  hypotheses  as  new  facts  are  dis 
covered  which  do  not  harmonise  with  the  older  expla 
nations.  It  not  unfrequently  happens  that  a  hypothesis 
which  has  served  its  purpose  well  enough  by  directing 
research  into  a  particular  channel,  and  which  after  all  is 
partially  correct,  may  be  overthrown  by  the  discovery  of 
a  single  new  fact.  Such  has  been  the  fate  of  the  theory 


as  to  the  development  of  Babylonian  religion  which  I 
have  been  describing  above. 

The  single  fact  which  has  shaken  it  to  its  very  founda 
tions  is  the  discovery  of  the  date  to  which  the  reign  of 
Sargon  of  Accad  must  be  assigned.  The  last  king  of 
of  Babylonia,  Nabonidos,  had  antiquarian  tastes,  and 
busied  himself  not  only  with  the  restoration  of  the  old 
temples  of  his  country,  but  also  with  the  disinterment  of 
the  memorial  cylinders  which  their  builders  and  restorers 
had  buried  beneath  their  foundations.  It  was  known 
that  the  great  temple  of  the  Sun-god  at  Sippara,  where 
the  mounds  of  Abu-Habba  now  mark  its  remains,  had 
been  originally  erected  by  Naram-Sin  the  son  of  Sargon, 
and  attempts  had  been  already  made  to  find  the  records 
which,  it  was  assumed,  he  had  entombed  under  its 
angles.  "With  true  antiquarian  zeal,  Nabonidos  continued 
the  search,  and  did  not  desist  until,  like  the  Dean  and 
Chapter  of  some  modern  cathedral,  he  had  lighted  upon 
"the  foundation-stone"  of  Naram-Sin  himself.  This 
"  foundation-stone,"  he  tells  us,  had  been  seen  by  none 
of  his  predecessors  for  3200  years.  In  the  opinion, 
accordingly,  of  Nabonidos,  a  king  who  was  curious  about 
the  past  history  of  his  country,  and  whose  royal  position 
gave  him  the  best  possible  opportunities  for  learning 
all  that  could  be  known  about  it,  Naram-Sin  and  his 
father  Sargon  I.  lived  3200  years  before  his  own  time, 
or  3750  B.C. 

The  date  is  so  remote  and  so  contrary  to  all  our  pre 
conceived  ideas  regarding  the  antiquity  of  the  Babylonian 
monarchy,  that  I  may  be  excused  if  at  first  I  expressed 
doubts  as  to  its  accuracy.  We  are  now  accustomed  to 
contemplate  with  equanimity  the  long  chronology  which 

22  LECTURE   I. 

the  monuments  demand  for  the  history  of  Pharaonic 
Egypt,  but  we  had  also  been  accustomed  to  regard  the 
history  of  Babylonia  as  beginning  at  the  earliest  in  the 
third  millennium  before  our  era.  Assyrian  scholars  had 
inherited  the  chronological  prejudices  of  a  former  genera 
tion,  and  a  starveling  chronology  seemed  to  be  confirmed 
by  the  statements  of  Greek  writers. 

I  was,  however,  soon  forced  to  re-consider  the  reasons 
of  my  scepticism.  The  cylinder  on  which  Nabonidos 
recounts  his  discovery  of  the  foundation-stone  of  Naram- 
Sin  was  brought  from  the  excavations  of  Mr.  Hormuzd 
Eassam  in  Babylonia,  and  explained  by  Mr.  Pinches  six 
years  ago.  Soon  afterwards,  Mr.  Pinches  was  fortunate 
enough  to  find  among  some  other  inscriptions  from  Baby 
lonia  fragments  of  three  different  lists,  in  one  of  which 
the  kings  of  Babylonia  were  arranged  in  dynasties,  and 
the  number  of  years  each  king  reigned  was  stated,  as 
well  as  the  number  of  years  the  several  dynasties  lasted. 
An  Assyrian  copy  of  a  similar  list  had  been  already  dis 
covered  by  Mr.  George  Smith,  who,  with  his  usual  quick 
ness  of  perception,  saw  that  it  must  have  resembled  the 
lists  from  which  Berossos,  the  Greek  historian  of  Chaldasa, 
drew  the  materials  of  his  chronology ;  but  the  copy  was 
so  mere  a  fragment  that  the  chronological  position  of  the 
kings  mentioned  upon  it  was  a  matter  of  dispute.  Hap 
pily  this  is  not  the  case  with  the  principal  text  published 
by  Mr.  Pinches.  It  had  been  compiled  by  a  native  of 
Babylon,  who  consequently  began  with  the  first  dynasty 
which  made  Babylon  the  capital  of  the  kingdom,  and 
who  seems  to  have  flourished  in  the  time  of  Nabonidos. 
We  can  check  the  accuracy  of  his  statements  in  a  some 
what  curious  way.  One  of  the  two  other  texts  brought 


to  light  by  Mr.  Pinches  is  a  schoolboy's  exercise  copy  of 
the  first  two  dynasties  mentioned  on  the  annalistic  tablet. 
There  are  certain  variations  between  the  two  texts,  how 
ever,  which  show  that  the  schoolboy  or  his  master  must 
have  used  some  other  list  of  the  early  kings  than  that 
which  was  employed  by  the  compiler  of  the  tablet; 
nevertheless,  the  names  and  the  regnal  years,  with  one 
exception,  agree  exactly  in  each.  In  Assyria,  an  accurate 
chronology  was  kept  by  means  of  certain  officers,  the 
so-called  Eponyms,  who  were  changed  every  year  and 
gave  their  names  to  the  year  over  which  they  presided. 
We  have  at  present  no  positive  proof  that  the  years  were 
dated  in  the  same  way  in  Babylonia;  but  since  most 
Assyrian  institutions  were  of  Babylonian  origin,  it  is 
probable  that  they  were.  At  all  events,  the  scribes  of  a 
later  day  believed  that  they  had  trustworthy  chrono 
logical  evidence  extending  back  into  a  dim  antiquity; 
and  when  we  remember  the  imperishable  character  of 
the  clay  literature  of  the  country,  and  the  fact  that  the 
British  Museum  actually  contains  deeds  and  other  legal 
documents  dated  in  the  reign  of  Khammuragas,  more 
than  four  thousand  years  ago,  there  is  no  reason  why 
we  should  not  consider  the  belief  to  have  been  justified. 
Now  the  annalistic  tablet  takes  us  back  reign  by  reign, 
dynasty  by  dynasty,  to  about  the  year  2400  B.C.  Among 
the  monarchs  mentioned  upon  it  is  Khammuragas,  whose 
reign  is  placed  112  years  later  (B.C.  2290).1  Of  Sargon 

1  As  the  reign  of  Khammuragas  lasted  55  years,  its  end  would  have 
been  about  B.C.  2235.  This  curiously  agrees  with  the  date  arrived  at 
(first  by  von  Gutschmidt)  for  the  beginning  of  the  Babylonian  era.  If 
the  Latin  translation  can  be  trusted  (Simplicius,  ad  Arist.  de  Ccelo, 
503  A),  the  astronomical  observations  sent  by  Kallisthenes  from  Babylon 
to  Aristotle  in  B.C.  331  reached  back  for  1903  years  (i.e.  to  B.C.  2234). 

24  LECTURE   I. 

and  his  son  Karam-Sin,  however,  there  is  no  trace.  But 
this  is  not  all.  On  the  shelves  of  the  British  Museum 
you  may  see  huge  sun-dried  bricks,  on  which  are  stamped 
the  names  and  titles  of  kings  who  erected  or  repaired 
the  temples  where  they  have  been  found.  In  the  dynasties 
of  the  annalistic  tablet  their  names  are  as  much  absent 
as  is  the  name  of  Sargon.  They  must  have  belonged  to 
an  earlier  period  than  that  with  which  the  list  of  the 
tablet  begins,  and  have  reigned  before  the  time  when, 
according  to  the  margins  of  our  Bibles,  the  flood  of  Noah 
was  covering  the  earth,  and  reducing  such  bricks  as 
these  to  their  primaeval  slime.  But  the  kings  who  have 
recorded  their  constructive  operations  on  the  bricks  are 
seldom  connected  with  one  another.  They  are  rather 
the  isolated  links  of  a  broken  chain,  and  thus  presup 
pose  a  long  period  of  time  during  which  their  reigns 
must  have  fallen.  This  conclusion  is  verified  by  another 
document,  also  coming  from  Babylonia  and  also  first 
published  by  Mr.  Pinches.  This  document  contains  a 
very  long  catalogue  of  royal  names,  not  chronologically 
arranged,  as  is  expressly  stated,  but  drawn  up  for  a 
philological  purpose — that  of  explaining  in  Assyrian 
the  Accadian  and  Kosssean  names  of  the  non-Semitic 
rulers  of  Babylonia.  Though  the  document  is  imperfect, 

Berossos,  according  to  Pliny  (1ST.  H.  vii.  57),  stated  that  these  observa 
tions  began  at  Babylon  490  years  before  the  Greek  era  of  Phoroneus 
(B.C.  1753),  i.e.  B.C.  2243,  though  Epigenes  made  it  720  years  (B.C. 
2473).  Babylon,  according  to  Stephanos  of  Byzantium  (s.  v.),  was 
built  1002  years  before  the  date  (given  by  Hellanikos)  for  the  siege  of 
Troy  (B.C.  1229),  which  would  bring  us  to  B.C.  2231,  while  Ktesias 
(ap.  Georg.  Synk.)  made  the  reign  of  Belos,  or  Bel-Merodach  of  Baby 
lon,  last  for  55  years  from  B.C.  2286  to  2231.  The  correspondence  of 
the  reign  of  the  Belos  of  Ktesias  with  the  reign  of  Khammuragas  is  at 
least  curious. 


it  embodies  about  sixty  names  which,  do  not  occur  on 
the  annalistic  tablet,  and  must  therefore  be  referred  to 
an  earlier  epoch  than  that  with  which  the  latter  begins. 

But  these  names,  like  the  majority  of  those  stamped 
on  the  bricks  from  the  ancient  temples,  are  not  of  Semitic 
but  of  Accadian  origin.  If,  then,  the  Accadian  domina 
tion  preceded  the  rule  of  the  Semitic  Babylonians,  the 
long  array  of  sovereigns  to  whom  they  belonged  must 
have  reigned  before  the  age  of  the  Semitic  rulers  of 
Accad,  Sargon  and  Naram-Sin.  This,  however,  is  a  con 
clusion  from  which  the  historian  will  needs  recoil.  The 
long  space  of  1300  years  which  intervened  between  the 
time  of  Sargon  and  that  of  the  dynasty  of  Khammuragas 
cannot  have  been  wholly  filled  with  Semitic  princes  who 
have  left  no  monument  behind  them.  We  seem  com 
pelled  to  acknowledge  that  the  Semitic  rule  in  Babylonia 
was  not  achieved  once  for  all.  The  struggle  between 
the  older  and  younger  population  of  the  country  was 
not  determined  by  a  single  battle  or  a  single  reign.  The 
dynasty  which  followed  that  of  Khammuragas  bears  for 
the  most  part  Accadian  names,  and  may  therefore  be 
regarded  as  marking  an  Accadian  revival.  Before  the 
age  of  Khammuragas  the  same  event  may  have  often 
happened.  Now  it  was  a  dynasty  sprung  from  a  Semitic 
settlement  that  acquired  the  supremacy  in  Babylonia; 
at  other  times  the  ruler  of  a  city  which  still  held  out 
against  the  Semite  succeeded  in  establishing  his  power 
over  the  whole  country.  In  the  dynastic  tablet  the 
immediate  predecessor  of  Khammuragas  is  a  Semite 
bearing  the  Semitic  name  of  Sin-muballidh,  and  yet  we 
learn  from  the  inscriptions  of  Khammuragas  himself  that 
he  had  made  himself  master  of  Chaldsea  by  the  overthrow 

26  LECTURE   I. 

of  the  Accadian  prince  Eim-Agu.  Moreover,  whatever 
might  have  been  the  original  character  of  the  Semitic 
occupation  of  Babylonia,  from  the  time  of  Sargon  I. 
downwards  it  was  of  a  more  or  less  peaceable  nature; 
Accadians  and  Semites  mingled  together,  and  from  the 
mixture  sprang  the  peculiar  civilisation  of  Babylonia, 
and  the  peculiar  type  of  its  people. 

Sargon  himself  was  a  monarch  whom  both  Accadian 
and  Semite  delighted  to  honour.  Myths  surrounded  his 
infancy  as  they  surrounded  the  infancy  of  Kyros,  and 
popular  legend  saw  in  him  the  hero-prince  who  had  been 
deserted  in  childhood  and  brought  up  among  squalid 
surroundings,  until  the  time  came  that  he  should  declare 
himself  in  his  true  character  and  receive  his  rightful 
inheritance.1  He  was  born,  it  was  said,  of  an  unknown 

1  Sargon  may  "be  the  Thilgamos  of  .ZElian,  transmitted  in  a  Persian 
dress,  and  the  legend  about  him  is  evidently  that  connected  by  Agathias 
(ii.  25,  15)  with  Beletares  (1  Tiglath-Pileser),  who  is  stated  to  have 
been  the  gardener  of  the  former  king,  Belokhos  or  Beleous,  and  the 
founder  of  a  new  dynasty.  In  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar  the  name  of  the 
gardener  wooed  by  Istar  is  given  as  Isullanu  the  gardener  of  Anu. 
The  text  giving  the  legend  of  Sargon,  as  published  in  W.A.I,  iii.  4,  7, 
is  as  follows  : 

1.  "  Sargon,  the  mighty  king,  the  king  of  Accad  (am)  I. 

2.  My  mother  (was)  a  princess  ;   my  father  I  knew  not ;   the 

brother  of  my  father  dwells  in  the  mountain. 

3.  (In)  the  city  of  Azupiranu,  which  is  built  on  the  bank  of  the 


4.  (my)  mother,  the  princess,  conceived  me  ;  in  a  secret  place  she 

brought  me  forth ; 

5.  she  placed  me  in  a  basket  of  reeds;  with  bitumen  my  exit 

(gate)  she  closed ; 

6.  she  gave  me  to  the  river,  which  drowned  me  not. 

7.  The  river  carried  me  along;  to  Akki  the  irrigator  it  brought  me; 

8.  Akki  the  irrigator  in  the  goodness  of  (his)  heart  lifted  me  up ; 

9.  Akki  the  irrigator  reared  me  as  (his  own)  son  ; 


father ;  as  Mars  had  wooed  the  mother  of  the  founder  of 
Eome,  so  some  god  whom  later  tradition  feared  to  name 
had  wooed  the  mother  of  the  founder  of  the  first  Semitic 
empire.  She  brought  forth  her  first-born  "in  a  secret 
place"  by  the  side  of  the  Euphrates,  and  placed  him  in 
a  basket  of  rushes  which  she  daubed  with  bitumen  and 
entrusted  to  the  waters  of  the  river.  The  story  reminds 
us  of  Perseus  launched  upon  the  sea  with  his  mother 
Danae  in  a  boat,  of  Eomulus  and  Eemus  exposed  to  the 
fury  of  the  Tiber,  and  still  more  of  Moses  in  his  ark  of 
bulrushes  upon  the  Nile.  The  Euphrates  refused  to 
drown  its  future  lord,  and  bore  the  child  in  safety  to 
Akki  "the  irrigator,"  the  representative  of  the  Accadian 
peasants  who  tilled  the  land  for  their  Semitic  masters. 
In  this  lowly  condition  and  among  a  subjugated  race 

10.  Akki  the  irrigator  made  me  his  gardener, 

§11.  (and  in)  my  gardenership  did  Istar  love  me. 
12.  For  45  (?)  years  I  ruled  the  kingdom. 

13.  The  men  of  the  black-headed  race  I  governed,  I  (organised). 

14.  Over  rugged  mountains  in  chariots  of  bronze  I  rode. 

15.  I  (governed)  the  upper  mountains ; 

16.  I  (ruled)  the  rulers  of  the  lower  mountains. 

17.  To  the  sea-coast  (?)  three  times  did  I  advance;  Dilmun  sub- 

(mitted) ; 

18.  The  fortress  of  the  goddess  of  Hades  (Dur-AN-Kigal)  bowed .... 

19.  I  destroyed  .... 

20.  When  the  king  who  comes  after  me  in  future  (days) 

21.  (shall  govern)  the  men  of  the  black-headed  race  ; 

22.  (shall  ride)  over  the  rugged  mountains  in  chariots  (of  bronze), 

23.  shall  govern  the  upper  mountains  (and  rule)  the  kings 

24.  of  the  lower  mountains  ;  (to)  the  sea-coast  (?) 

25.  shall  advance  three  times ;  (shall  cause  Dilmun  to  submit)  j 

26.  (when)  the  fortress  of  the  goddess  of  Hades  shall  bow ;  from 

my  city  of  Accad " 

Ti-ti-sdl-lat  (?)  seems  to  mean  "  the  sea-coast"  of  the  Mediterranean  ; 
cp.  Tit-num,  the  Accadian  name  of  Phoenicia,  as  well  as  Dhi-dhi,  ano 
ther  Accadian  name  of  the  same  country  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  19). 

28  LECTURE   I. 

Sargon  was  brought  up.  Akki  took  compassion  on  the 
little  waif,  and  reared  him  as  if  he  had  been  his  own  son. 
As  he  grew  older  he  was  set  to  till  the  garden  and  culti 
vate  the  fruit-trees,  and  while  engaged  in  this  humble 
work  attracted  the  love  of  the  goddess  Istar.  Then  came 
the  hour  of  his  deliverance  from  servile  employment,  and, 
like  David,  he  made  his  way  to  a  throne.  For  long  years 
he  ruled  the  black-headed  race  of  Accad ;  he  rode  through 
subjugated  countries  in  chariots  of  bronze,  and  crossed 
the  Persian  Gulf  to  the  sacred  isle  of  Dilmun.  The  very 
name  the  people  gave  him  was  a  proof  of  his  predestined 
rise  to  greatness.  Sargon  was  not  his  real  title.  This 
was  Sarganu,  which  a  slight  change  of  pronunciation 
altered  into  Sargina,  a  word  that  conveyed  the  meaning 
of  " constituted"  or  "predestined"  "king"  to  his  Acca- 
dian  subjects.  It  was  the  form  assumed  in  their  mouths 
by  the  Semitic  Sarru-Jcinu,  and  thus  reminded  them  of 
the  Sun-god  Tammuz,  the  youthful  bridegroom  of  Istar, 
who  was  addressed  as  ablu  Jcinu  or  "only  son,"  as  well 
as  of  Nebo  "the  very  son"  (ablu  Jcinu)  of  the  god  Mero- 
dach.1  Sargina,  however,  was  not  the  only  name  by 
which  the  king  was  known  to  them.  They  called  him 
also  Dddil  or  Dddal,  a  title  which  the  Semitic  scribes 
afterwards  explained  to  mean  "  Sargon,  the  king  of 
constituted  right  (sar-kinti\  deviser  of  constituted  law, 
deviser  of  prosperity,"  though  its  true  signification  was 
rather  "the  very  wise."2 

1  Upon  the  inscription  of  "  Sar-ga-ni,  the  king  of  the  city,  the  king 
of  Accad,"  see  Pinches,   Proc.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch.   June  1886,  p.  244. 
Sarganu  has  the  same  origin  as  the  Biblical  Serug. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  40  and  32,  where  (with  the  earlier  Sumerian  pro 
nunciation  tal-tal  or  tatal)  it  is  a  title  of  Ea  as  the  god  of  "  wisdom.' 


But  in  spite  of  the  atmosphere  of  myth  which  came 
to  enshroud  him,  as  it  enshrouded  the  persons  of  Kyros, 
of  Charlemagne,  and  of  other  heroes  of  popular  history, 
Sargon  was  a  historical  monarch  and  the  founder  of  a 
really  great  empire.  The  British  Museum  actually  pos 
sesses  an  inscribed  egg  of  veined  marble  which  he  dedi 
cated  to  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara,  and  the  seal  of  his 
librarian  Ibni-sarru  is  in  the  hands  of  M.  Le  Clercq  of 
Paris.  What  may  be  termed  the  scientific  literature  of 
the  library  of  Nineveh  makes  frequent  reference  to 
him,  and  we  learn  that  it  was  for  the  great  library 
which  he  established  in  his  capital  city  of  Accad  that 
the  two  standard  Babylonian  works  on  astronomy  and 
terrestrial  omens  were  originally  compiled.  The  work 
on  astronomy  was  entitled  "  The  Observations  of  Bel,"\ 
and  consisted  of  no  less  than  seventy-two  books,  deal 
ing  with  such  matters  as  the  conjunction  of  the  sun 
and  moon,  the  phases  of  Yenus,  and  the  appearances 
of  comets.  It  was  translated  in  later  days  into  Greek 
by  the  historian  Berossos;  and  though  supplemented 
by  numerous  additions  in  its  passage  through  the  hands 
of  generations  of  Babylonian  astronomers,  the  original 

"When  applied  to  Sargon,  the  title  was  ideographically  expressed  by 
repeating  the  character  for  "king,"  in  order  to  denote  that  he  was 
"  the  king  indeed."  One  of  the  earliest  of  the  monarchs  whose  names 
are  found  at  Tel-loh  is  called  Taltal-kur-galla,  "  the  wise  one  of  the 
great  mountain." 

2  Or  perhaps  "The  Illumination  of  Bel  (Mul-lil),"  Namar-Bili.  See 
my  paper  on  "  The  Astronomy  and  Astrology  of  the  Babylonians,"  in 
the  Tr.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch.  iii.  1  (1874).  Later  copyists  mistook  the  title 
for  a  proper  name,  and  accordingly  referred  the  compilation  of  the  work 
to  a  certain  Namar-Bili.  Up  to  the  time  of  Berossos,  however,  it  was 
remembered  that  the  god  Bel  himself  was  its  traditional  author,  and  the 
work  is  sometimes  quoted  as  simply  "Bel"  (e.g.  W.  A.  I.  iii.  52,  27). 

30  LECTURE   I. 

work  contained  so  many  records  of  eclipses  as  to  demon 
strate  the  antiquity  of  Babylonian  astronomy  eyen  in 
the  remote  age  of  Sargon  himself.  But  besides  our 
knowledge  of  Sargon' s  patronage  of  learning,  we  also 
know  something  about  the  civil  history  of  his  reign.  A 
copy  of  its  annals  has  come  down  to  us.  "We  gather 
from  these  that  he  was  not  only  successful  in  overthrow 
ing  all  opposition  at  home,  he  was  also  equally  successful 
abroad.  His  first  campaign  was  against  the  powerful 
kingdom  of  Elam  in  the  East,  where  he  overthrew  the 
enemy  and  mutilated  their  slain.  Next  he  turned  to 
the  "West,  laying  his  yoke  on  Syria,  and  subjugating 
"the  four  quarters"  of  the  world.  Then  the  rival  kings 
of  Babylon  and  other  Chaldsean  cities  felt  his  power; 
and  out  of  the  spoil  of  the  vanquished  he  built  the  city 
of  Accad  and  gave  it  its  name.  From  this  time  forward 
his  attention  was  chiefly  devoted  to  the  West.  Year  after 
year  he  penetrated  into  Syria,  until  at  last,  we  are  told, 
"  he  had  neither  equal  nor  rival; "  he  crossed  the  Mediter 
ranean  to  the  island  we  now  call  Cyprus,  and  "in  the 
third  year,"  at  the  bounds  of  the  setting  sun,  his  hands 
conquered  all  peoples  and  his  mouth  decreed  a  single 
empire.  Here  on  the  shores  of  Cyprus  the  great  conqueror 
erected  images  of  himself,  and  then  carried  the  booty  of 
the  island  to  the  opposite  coast  of  Asia.  Such  a  glimpse 
into  the  history  of  what  became  afterwards  a  Grecian 
sea,  when  as  yet  no  Greeks  had  made  their  way  to  their 
later  home,  is  startling  to  those  whose  conceptions  of 
authentic  history  have  been  limited  by  the  narrow  horizon 
of  the  classical  world.  Its  trustworthiness,  however,  has 
been  curiously  verified  by  a  discovery  made  by  General 
de  Cesnola  in  the  treasure-vaults  of  a  Kyprian  temple 


among  the  ruins  of  the  ancient  Kurion.  Here,  among 
other  haematite  cylinders  of  early  Babylonian  origin, 
he  found  one  the  first  owner  of  which  describes  himself 
as  a  " servant"  or  "  worshipper"  of  "  the  deified  Naram- 
Sin."1  Naram-Sin  was  the  son  and  successor  of  Sargon, 
and  it  is  not  likely  that  he  would  have  received  divine  • 
honours  after  the  fall  of  the  dynasty  to  which  he  belonged. 
The  fact  that  the  cylinder  was  discovered  in  Cyprus 
seems  to  show  that  even  after  Sargon' s  death  a  connec 
tion  continued  to  exist  between  Cyprus  and  the  imperial 
power  of  Babylonia.  Naram-Sin,  however,  was  more  bent 
on  the  conquest  of  Magana,  or  the  Sinaitic  Peninsula, 
than  upon  further  campaigns  in  the  West.  Sinai,  with  its 
mines  of  turquoise  and  copper,  had  been  a  prize  coveted 
by  the  Egyptians  ever  since  the  age  of  the  Third  Dynasty, 
and  one  of  the  first  efforts  of  the  rising  rival  power  on 
the  banks  of  the  Euphrates  was  to  gain  possession  of  the 
same  country.  Naram-Sin,  so  runs  the  annalistic  tablet, 
" marched  to  the  land  of  Magana;  the  land  of  Magana 
he  conquered,  and  overcame  its  king." 

The  land  of  Maga*na  was  already  known  to  the  inha 
bitants  of  Babylonia.2   The  earliest  Chaldsean  monuments 

1  See  my  paper  in  the  Trans.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch.  v.  2  (1877). 

2  Oppert,  Lenormant  and  myself  have  long  since  shown  that  Magan 
originally  denoted  the  Sinaitic  peninsula,  and  Delattre  has  recently 
made  it  clear  (L'Asie  occidentals)  that  Melukhkha,  which  is  constantly 
associated  with  Magan,  was  the  desert  district  immediately  to  the  south 
of  the  Wadiel-'Arish.     Assur-bani-pal  transfers  the  name  of  Magan  to 
the  neighbouring  land  of  lower  Egypt,  while  Melukhkha  is  used  for 
Ethiopia  or  Meroe  by  Sargon  and  his  successors.    The  name  of  Magan, 
however,  was  probably  used  from  the  first  in  an  extended  sense,  since 
a  list  of  reeds  (W.  A.  I.  v.  32.  64,  65)  describes  the  iippatu,  or  "papy 
rus,"  Heb.  suph,  as  "the  reed  of  Magan"  (Makkan  in  Assyrian).    The 
early  date  to  which  a  knowledge  of  the  plant  went  back  is  evidenced 

32  LECTURE   I. 

yet  discovered  are  those  which  have  been  excavated  at 
Tel-loh  in  southern  Chaldsea  by  a  Frenchman,  M.  de 
Sarzec,  and  are  now  deposited  in  the  Louvre.  Some  of 
them  go  back  almost  to  the  very  beginnings  of  Chaldean 
art  and  cuneiform  writing.  Indeed,  the  writing  is  hardly 
yet  cuneiform;  the  primitive  pictorial  forms  of  many 
of  the  characters  are  but  thinly  disguised,  and  the  ver 
tical  direction  they  originally  followed,  like  Chinese,  is 
still  preserved.  The  language  and  art  alike  are  Proto- 
Chaldsean :  there  is  as  yet  no  sign  that  the  Semite  was 
in  the  land.  Among  the  monuments  are  seated  figures 
carved  out  of  stone.  The  stone  in  several  instances  is 
diorite,  a  stone  so  hard  that  even  the  modern  workman 
may  well  despair  of  chiselling  it  into  the  lineaments  of 
the  human  form.  Now  an  inscription  traced  upon  one 
of  the  figures  tells  us  that  the  stone  was  brought  from 
the  land  of  Magan.  Already,  therefore,  before  the  time 
of  Sargon  and  the  rise  of  Semitic  supremacy  and  civil 
isation,  the  peninsula  of  Sinai  was  not  only  known  to  the 

by  its  having  an  Accadian  name,  gizi,  "  the  flowering  reed"  (borrowed 
by  Semitic  Babylonian  under  the  form  of  Tdsu).  That  Magan  or 
Magana  was  a  mountainous  country  appears  from  a  bilingual  hymn  to 
Adar,  which  mentions  "the  mountain  of  Magana"  (W.A.I,  iv.  13, 
16);  and  in  "W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  17,  while  Melukhkha  is  described  as  "the 
country  of  turquoise,"  Magan  is  described  as  "  the  country  of  bronze." 
It  is  possible  that  the  name  of  Magan  or  Magana  is  derived  from 
mafka,  which  signifies  in  old  Egyptian  "the  turquoise"  of  the  Sinaitic 
mines.  In  an  early  Babylonian  geographical  list  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  38.  13, 
14),  Magan  and  Melukhkha  are  associated  with  the  Babylonian  sea 
port  of  Eridu,  which  throws  light  on  "  the  ships "  of  Magan  and 
Melukhkha  mentioned  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  46.  6,  7,  immediately  after  "the 
ships  of  Dilmun."  The  trading  ships  of  Eridu  would  have  touched  first 
at  Dilmun,  then  at  Magan,  and  finally  at  Melukhkha.  For  a  Baby 
lonian  country  or  mountain  (!)  of  Magan,  such  as  some  scholars  have 
dreamed  of,  there  is  not  a  particle  of  evidence. 


inhabitants  of  Chaldoea,  but  blocks  of  stone  were  trans 
ported  from  it  to  the  stoneless  plain  of  Babylonia,  and 
there  made  plastic  under  the  hand  of  the  sculptor.  I 
have  already  alluded  to  the  fact  that  the  quarries  of  Sinai 
had  been  known  to  the  Egyptians  and  worked  by  them 
as  early  as  the  epoch  of  the  Third  Dynasty,  some  6000 
years  ago.  Is  it  more  than  a  coincidence  that  one  of 
the  most  marvellous  statues  in  the  world,  and  the  chief 
ornament  of  the  Museum  of  Bulaq,  is  a  seated  figure  of 
king  Khephren  of  the  Fourth  Dynasty,  carved  out  of 
green  diorite,  like  the  statues  of  Tel-loh,  and  representing 
the  monarch  in  almost  the  same  attitude  ?  The  Baby 
lonian  work  is  ruder  than  the  Egyptian  work,  it  is  true  ] 
but  if  we  place  them  side  by  side,  it  is  hard  to  resist  the 
conviction  that  both  belong  to  the  same  school  of  sculp 
ture,  and  that  the  one  is  but  a  less  skilful  imitation  of 
the  other.  The  conviction  grows  upon  us  when  we  find 
that  diorite  is  as  foreign  to  the  soil  of  Egypt  as  it  is  to 
that  of  Babylonia,  and  that  the  standard  of  measurement 
marked  upon  the  plan  of  the  city,  which  one  of  the/-  ^ 
figures  of  Tel-loh  holds  upon  his  lap,  is  the  same  as  /» -m 
the  standard  of  measurement  of  the  Egyptian  pyramid- 
builders — the  kings  of  the  fourth  and  two  following 

Egyptian  research  has  independently  arrived  at  the 
conclusion  that  the  pyramid-builders  were  at  least  as  old 
as  the  fourth  millennium  before  the  Christian  era.  The 
great  pyramids  of  Grizeh  were  in  course  of  erection,  the 
hieroglyphic  system  of  writing  was  already  fully  deve- 

1  The  cubit  of  20'63,  quite  different  from  the  later  Assyro-Baby- 
lonian  cubit  of  21'6.  See  Flinders  Petrie  in  Nature,  Aug.  9,  1883, 
p.  341. 

34  LECTURE   I. 

loped,  Egypt  itself  was  thoroughly  organised  and  in  the 
enjoyment  of  a  high  culture  and  civilisation,  at  a  time 
when,  according  to  Archbishop  Usher's  chronology,  the 
world  was  being  created.  The  discoveries  at  Tel-loh 
have  revealed  to  us  a  corresponding  period  in  the  history 
of  Babylonia,  earlier  considerably  than  the  age  of  Sargon 
of  Accad,  in  which  we  seem  to  find  traces  of  contact 
between  Babylonia  and  the  Egyptians  of  the  Old  Empire. 
It  would  even  seem  as  if  the  conquests  of  Naram-Sin  in 
Sinai  were  due  to  the  fall  of  the  Sixth  Dynasty  and  the 
overthrow  of  the  power  of  the  old  Egyptian  empire. 
For  some  centuries  after  that  event  Egypt  is  lost  to 
history,  and  its  garrisons  and  miners  in  the  Sinaitic 
peninsula  must  have  been  recalled  to  serve  against 
enemies  nearer  home. 

If  there  is  any  truth  in  the  arguments  I  have  been 
using,  we  may  now,  I  think,  accept  with  confidence  the 
date  assigned  to  Sargon  of  Accad  by  Nabonidos,  strange 
as  it  may  appear  to  read  of  expeditions  undertaken  by 
Babylonian  kings  against  Cyprus  and  Sinai  at  so  remote 
an  epoch.  Important  results  will  follow  from  such  a 
conclusion  fbr  the  history  of  Babylonian  religion.  We 
shall  have  time  enough  for  the  slow  absorption  of  Acca- 
dian  religious  ideas  into  the  uncultured  Semitic  mind, 
for  the  gradual  transformation  they  underwent,  and  for 
the  development  of  those  later  forms  of  belief  and  practice 
to  which  the  main  bulk  of  our  materials  relate.  "We 
can  now  trace  in  some  measure  the  modes  in  which 
Accadian  and  Semite  acted  and  re-acted  upon  one  another, 
as  well  as  the  chief  periods  at  which  the  influence  of  the  ! 
one  or  of  the  other  was  at  its  height. 

The  monuments  of  Tel-loh  carry  us  back  to  a  pre- 


Semitic  era.  The  deities  they  commemorate  are  Proto- 
Chaldeean,  and  we  may  gather  from  them  some  idea  of 
Proto-Chaldeean  religion  in  the  heyday  of  its  power. 
Babylonia  was  still  divided  into  a  number  of  petty  states, 
which  were,  however,  at  times  united  for  a  while  under 
a  single  head,  and  each  state  had  its  own  peculiar  cult. 
Gradually  the  encroaching  Semite  dispossessed  the  older 
dynasties  and  came  to  form  an  upper  class,  first  of  soldiers 
and  traders,  and  then  of  priests  also,  throughout  the  land. 
It  was  in  northern  Babylonia  probably  that  he  made 
his  influence  first  felt.  Here,  at  any  rate,  the  kingdom 
was  founded  which  culminated  in  the  brilliant  reigns  of 
Sargon  of  Accad  and  his  son  Naram-Sin.  Before  this, 
the  old  culture  of  the  non-Semitic  population  had  been 
fully  absorbed  by  the  Semitic  intruders.  The  intercourse 
between  the  two  races  was  already  for  the  most  part  a 
peaceful  one.  The  great  mass  of  the  older  people  were 
contented  to  till  the  ground,  to  irrigate  the  fields,  and  to 
become  the  serfs  of  their  Semitic  lords.  But  inter-mar 
riages  must  have  often  taken  place;  members  of  the 
same  family  bear  sometimes  Accadian,  sometimes  Semitic 
names,  and  the  same  king,  whether  Accadian  or  Semite, 
issues  his  edicts  in  both  languages.  The  cuneiform 
system  of  writing  was  handed  on  to  the  Semites  while  / 
still  in  an  incomplete  state.  New  values  and  meanings 
were  given  to  the  signs,  new  characters  and  combinations 
of  characters  were  devised,  and  in  writing  Semitic  words 
the  old  ideographic  usage  of  the  Accadian  script  con 
tinued  to  be  imitated.  The  process  was  aided  by  the 
patronage  afforded  to  literature  in  the  court  of  Sargon. 
Here  Semitic  and  Accadian  scribes  vied  with  one  another 
in  compiling  new  texts  and  in  making  the  old  ones 

D  2 

36  LECTURE   I. 

accessible  to  Semitic  learners.  An  artificial  literary  dia 
lect  sprang  up,  the  basis  of  which  was  Semitic,  but  into 
which  Accadian  words  and  phrases  were  thrown  pele- 
mele.  By  way  of  revenge,  the  Accadian  texts  which 
emanated  from  the  literati  of  the  court  were  filled  with 
Semitic  words  and  expressions.  Sometimes  they  were 
the  work  of  Semites  writing  in  a  foreign  language,  some 
times  of  Accadians  who  were  living  in  an  atmosphere 
of  Semitic  life  and  thought. 

What  happened  in  the  case  of  the  language  must  have 
happened  also  in  the  case  of  religion.  "We  know  that 
many  of  the  gods  of  the  later  Babylonian  faith  have 
Accadian  names,  and  that  the  ideas  connected  with  them 
betray  a  non-Semitic  origin ;  we  may  therefore  expect  to 
find  Accadian  religious  conceptions  accommodated  to  those 
of  the  Semite,  and  Semitic  conceptions  so  closely  inter 
twined  with  Accadian  beliefs  as  to  make  it  impossible  for 
us  now  to  separate  them.  How  far  this  is  the  case  I 
hope  to  point  out  in  a  future  Lecture. 

The  fall  of  the  dynasty  of  Sargon  may  have  brought 
with  it  a  temporary  revival  of  Accadian  supremacy.  At 
any  rate,  the  Semitic  element  always  remained  strongest 
in  northern  Babylonia :  in  southern  Babylonia  it  seems 
to  me  not  impossible  that  one  of  the  numerous  dialects 
of  the  old  language  may  have  lingered  down  to  the  time 
of  Nebuchadnezzar  or  Nabonidos.  But  even  in  northern 
Babylonia  the  Semitic  element  was  not  pure.  It  mainly 
represented  the  dominant  class,  and  not  the  people  as 
well,  as  was  the  case  in  Assyria.  The  result  is  that  the 
Babylonian  presents  us  with  a  moral  and  intellectual 
type  which  is  not  genuinely  Semitic.  To  convince  our 
selves  of  this  fact,  it  is  only  necessary  to  compare  the 


Babylonian  with  his  neighbour  the  Assyrian.  The  As 
syrian  has  all  the  characteristics  of  the  Semite.  His 
hooked  nose  and  angular  features  proclaim  his  origin  on 
the  physical  side  as  unmistakably  as  his  intensity,  his 
ferocity,  his  love  of  trade  and  his  nomadic  habits  pro 
claim  it  on  the  moral  side.  The  Babylonian,  on  the 
other  hand,  was  square-built  and  somewhat  full-faced, 
an  agriculturist  rather  than  a  soldier,  a  scholar  rather 
than  a  trader.  The  intensity  of  religious  belief  which 
marked  the  Assyrian  was  replaced  in  him  by  superstition, 
and  the  barbarities  which  the  Assyrian  perpetrated  in 
the  name  of  Assur  and  loved  to  record  in  his  inscriptions 
were  foreign  to  his  nature.  If  the  Assyrian  was  the 
Eoman  of  the  ancient  East,  the  Babylonians  were  the 

Nevertheless,  the  contrast  of  type  displayed  by  the 
two  nations  must  have  been  the  growth  of  centuries,  and 
due  to  that  absorption  of  one  race  by  another  of  which 
Ireland  furnishes  so  familiar  an  example.  The  Semites 
of  Babylonia — the  Babylonians,  as  I  will  henceforth  call 
them — and  the  Assyrians  must  once  have  been  the  same 
people.  Assyrian  and  Babylonian  differ  only  as  two 
English  dialects  differ,  and  are  therefore  known  by  the 
common  name  of  Assyrian ;  and  it  was  from  Babylonia 
that  the  Assyrians  derived  their  system  of  writing,  the 
greater  part  of  their  literature,  their  religion  and  their 
laws.  It  is  true  that  some  of  this  may  have  been  bor 
rowed  in  later  times  when  the  two  kingdoms  existed 
side  by  side,  or  when  Babylonia  became  the  appanage 
of  its  ruder  but  more  warlike  neighbour ;  the  main  bulk, 
however,  like  the  language,  must  have  been  the  heritage 
which  the  ancestors  of  Sennacherib  and  Sarclanapallos 

38  LECTURE   I. 

carried  with,  them  into  their  northern  home.  The  reli 
gions  of  Babylonia  and  Assyria  must  be  treated  together ; 
we  shall  find,  indeed,  that  in  certain  particulars  they 
disagree ;  but  these  particulars  form  no  portion  of  their 
essential  character ;  they  are  merely  unessentials  which 
can  be  put  aside  without  injury  to  our  view  of  the  main 

But,  it  will  be  asked,  what  interest  can  the  religions 
of  Babylonia  and  Assyria  have  for  us,  much  more  an 
inquiry  into  their  nature  and  origin  ?  They  have  long 
since  perished,  like  the  people  who  professed  them,  and 
have  left  no  apparent  traces  of  their  influence  upon  the 
nations  about  whom  we  know  and  care  most.  The 
Greeks  and  Eomans  concerned  themselves  so  little  with 
these  Eastern  barbarians  as  neither  to  read  nor  to  pre 
serve  the  only  Greek  history  of  Chaldsea  which  was 
written  by  a  native  and  professed  to  be  derived  from 
native  accounts ;  we  owe  the  fragments  we  have  of  it  to 
the  apologetic  zeal  of  Christian  controversialists.  Still 
less  would  it  appear  that  these  old  people  of  Babylonia 
and  Assyria  can  have  had  any  influence  upon  the  world 
of  to-day,  or  have  served  to  mould  the  ideas  and  the 
society  of  modern  Europe.  Such  questions  may  be  asked, 
and  until  lately  it  would  have  been  hard  to  answer  them. 

And  yet  a  moment's  consideration  might  have  shown 
that  there  was  one  nation  at  all  events  which  has  exer 
cised,  and  still  exercises,  a  considerable  influence  upon 
our  own  thought  and  life,  and  which  had  been  brought 
into  close  contact  with  the  religion  and  culture  of  Baby 
lonia  at  a  critical  epoch  in  its  history.  The  influence  of 
Jewish  religion  upon  Christianity,  and  consequently  upon 
the  races  that  have  been  moulded  by  Christianity,  has 


been  lasting  and  profound.  "Now  Jewish  religion  wag 
intimately  bound  up  with  Jewish  history,  more  intimately 
perhaps  than  has  been  the  case  with  any  other  great 
religion  of  the  world.  It  took  its  colouring  from  the. 
events  that  marked  the  political  life  of  the  Hebrew 
people ;  it  developed  in  unison  with  their  struggles  and 
successes,  their  trials  and  disappointments.  Its  great 
devotional  utterance,  the  Book  of  Psalms,  is  national, 
not  individual ;  the  individual  in  it  has  merged  his  own 
aspirations  and  sufferings  into  those  of  the  whole  com 
munity.  The  course  of  Jewish  prophecy  is  equally 
stamped  with  the  impress  of  the  national  fortunes.  It 
grows  clearer  and  more  catholic  as  the  intercourse  of  the 
Jewish  people  with  those  around  them  becomes  wider ; 
and  the  lesson  is  taught  at  last  that  the  God  of  the  Jews 
is  the  God  also  of  the  whole  world.  Now  the  chosen 
instruments  for  enforcing  this  lesson,  as  we  are  expressly 
told,  were  the  Assyrian  and  the  Babylonian.  The  Assy 
rian  was  the  rod  of  God's  anger,1  while  the  Babylonish 
exile  was  the  bitter  punishment  meted  out  to  Judah  for 
its  sins.  The  captives  who  returned  again  to  their  own 
land  came  back  with  changed  hearts  and  purified  minds ; 
from  henceforward  Jerusalem  was  to  be  the  unrivalled 
dwelling-place  of  "  the  righteous  nation  which  keepeth 
the  truth." 

Apart,  therefore,  from  any  influence  which  the  old 
religious  beliefs  of  Babylonia  may  have  had  upon  the 
Greeks,  and  which,  as  we  shall  see,  was  not  so  wholly 
wanting  as  was  formerly  imagined,  their  contact  with 
the  religious  conceptions  of  the  Jewish  exiles  must,  to 

i  Is.  x.  5. 

4-0  LECTURE   I. 

say  the  least,  liave  produced  an  effect  which  it  is  well 
worth  our  while  to  study.  Hitherto,  the  traditional 
view  has  been  that  this  effect  exhibited  itself  wholly  on 
the  antagonistic  side;  the  Jews  carried  nothing  away 
from  the  land  of  their  captivity  except  an  intense  hatred 
of  idolatry,  more  especially  Babylonian,  as  well  as  of 
the  beliefs  and  practices  associated  therewith.  Now  and 
then,  it  is  true,  some  bold  spirit,  like  Bishop  Warburton, 
may  have  ventured  to  propound  the  paradox  that  the 
doctrine  of  the  resurrection  was  first  learnt  by  the  Jews 
in  Babylonia,  but  it  was  treated  generally  as  a  paradox, 
and  of  late  years,  if  admitted  at  all,  was  considered  a 
proof  of  the  influence  not  of  the  Babylonians  but  of 
their  Persian  conquerors. 

The  traditional  view  had  no  facts  to  build  upon  except 
such  conclusions  as  it  could  draw  from  the  Old  Testament 
itself.  To-day  all  this  is  changed.  "We  know  something 
now  about  the  deities  whom  the  Babylonians  worshipped, 
about  the  rites  and  ceremonies  they  practised,  and  about 
the  religious  ideas  they  entertained.  The  result  of  this 
knowledge  is  to  show  us  that  the  Jews  did  not  live  in 
the  midst  of  the  Babylonians  for  seventy  years  without 
borrowing  from  them  something  more  than  the  names  of 
the  months.  Nay  more ;  it  shows  us  that  the  language 
of  the  Babylonian  conquerors  was  not  the  so-called 
Chaldee,  which  is  really  an  Aramaic  dialect,  but  a  lan 
guage  more  closely  resembling  that  of  the  exiles  them 
selves.  It  is  true  that  a  Jew  could  not  have  understood  a 
Babylonian,  any  more  than  a  "Welshman  can  understand 
a  Breton,  but  it  was  very  easy  for  him  to  learn  to 
understand.  Assyrian,  that  is  to  say  the  language  of 
Babylonia,  is  on  the  whole  more  nearly  related  to  Hebrew 


than  it  is  to  any  other  member  of  the  Semitic  family  of 

But  it  was  not  only  through  the  Babylonian  exile  that 
the  religious  ideas  of  the  Babylonian  and  the  Jew  came 
into  contact  with  each  other.  It  was  then,  indeed,  that 
the  ideas  of  the  conquering  race — the  actual  masters  of 
the  captives,  who  had  long  been  accustomed  to  regard 
Babylonia  as  the  home  of  a  venerable  learning  and 
culture — were  likely  to  make  their  deepest  and  most 
enduring  impression ;  it  was  then,  too,  that  the  Jew  for 
the  first  time  found  the  libraries  and  ancient  literature 
of  Chaldaea  open  to  his  study  and  use.  But  old  tradition 
had  already  pointed  to  the  valley  of  the  Euphrates  as 
the  primeval  cradle  of  his  race.  We  all  remember  how 
Abraham,  it  is  said,  was  born  in  Ur  of  the  Chaldees,  and 
how  the  earlier  chapters  of  Genesis  make  the  Euphrates 
and  Tigris  two  of  the  rivers  of  Paradise,  and  describe 
the  building  of  the  Tower  of  Babylon  as  the  cause  of 
the  dispersion  of  mankind.  Now  the  Hebrew  language 
was  the  language  not  only  of  the  Israelites,  but  also  of 
those  earlier  inhabitants  of  the  country  whom  the  Jews 
called  Canaanites  and  the  Greeks  Phoenicians.  Like 
the  Israelites,  the  Phoenicians  held  that  their  ancestors 
had  come  from  the  Persian  Gulf  and  the  alluvial  plain 
of  Babylonia.  The  tradition  is  confirmed  by  the  re 
searches  of  comparative  philology.  Many  of  the  words 
which  the  Semites  have  in  common  seem  to  point  to  the 
neighbourhood  of  Babylonia  as  the  district  from  which 
those  who  used  them  originally  came,  and  where  they 
called  the  fauna  and  flora  of  the  country  by  common 
names.  Their  first  home  appears  to  have  been  in  the 
low-lying  desert  which  stretches  eastward  of  Chaldeea — 

42  LECTURE    I. 

on  the  very  side  of  the  Euphrates,  in  fact,  on  which 
stood  the  great  city  of  Ur,  the  modern  Mugheir.  Here 
they  led  a  nomad  life,  overawed  by  the  higher  culture 
of  the  settled  Accadian  race,  until  a  time  came  when 
they  began  to  absorb  it  themselves,  and  eventually,  as 
we  have  seen,  to  dispossess  and  supersede  their  teachers. 

The  tribes  which  travelled  northward  and  westward 
must,  we  should  think,  have  carried  with  them  some  of 
the  elements  of  the  culture  they  had  learnt  from  their 
Accadian  neighbours.  And  such,  indeed,  we  find  to  be 
the  case.  The  names  of  Babylonian  deities  meet  us 
again  in  Palestine  and  the  adjoining  Semitic  lands. 
Nebo,  the  Babylonian  god  of  prophecy  and  literature, 
has  given  his  name  to  towns  that  stood  within  the  terri 
tories  of  Eeuben  and  Judah,  as  well  as  to  the  Moabite 
mountain  on  which  Moses  breathed  his  last;  Anu,  the 
Babylonian  god  of  heaven,  and  his  female  consort  Anatu, 
re-appear  in  Beth-Anath,  "the  temple  of  Anatu,"  and 
Anathoth,  the  birth-place  of  Jeremiah ;  and  Sinai  itself  is 
but  the  mountain  of  Sin,  the  Babylonian  Moon-god.1 

"We  may  thus  assume  that  there  were  two  periods  in 
the  history  of  the  Jewish  people  in  which  they  came 
under  the  influence  of  the  religious  conceptions  of  Baby 
lonia.  There  was  the  later  period  of  the  Babylonish 

1  That  this  is  the  true  derivation  of  the  name  of  Sinai  and  of  the 
desert  of  Sin  is  plain  now  that  we  know  that  the  district  in  question 
was  possessed  by  Aramaic-speaking  tribes  whose  kinsfolk  spread  east 
ward  to  the  banks  of  the  Euphrates,  and  who  were  allied  in  blood  to 
the  population  of  Moab  and  Canaan,  where  the  names  of  Babylonian 
deities  were  not  unfrequent.  The  name  of  Sin,  the  Moon-god,  is  met 
with  in  an  Himyaritic  inscription,  and  a  god  who  thus  found  his  way 
to  southern  Arabia  would  be  equally  likely  to  find  his  way  to  northern 


exile,  when  the  influence  was  strong  and  direct;  there 
was  also  the  earlier  period,  when  the  amount  of  influence 
is  more  hard  to  determine.  Much  will  depend  upon  the 
view  we  take  of  the  age  of  the  Pentateuch,  and  of  the 
traditions  or  histories  embodied  therein.  Some  will  be 
disposed  to  see  in  Abraham  the  conveyer  of  Babylonian 
ideas  to  the  west ;  others  will  consider  that  the  Israelites 
made  their  first  acquaintance  with  the  gods  and  legends 
of  Babylonia  through  the  Canaanites  and  other  earlier 
inhabitants  of  Palestine.  Those  who  incline  to  the  latter 
belief  may  doubt  whether  the  fathers  of  the  Canaanitish 
tribes  brought  the  elements  of  their  Babylonian  beliefs 
with  them  from  Chaldasa,  or  whether  these  beliefs  were 
of  later  importation,  due  to  the  western  conquests  of 
Sargon  and  his  successors.  Perhaps  what  I  have  to  say 
in  my  subsequent  Lectures  will  afford  some  data  for 
deciding  which  of  these  conflicting  opinions  is  the  more 

Meanwhile,  I  will  conclude  this  Lecture  with  a  few 
illustrations  of  the  extent  to  which  the  study  of  Baby 
lonian  religion  may  be  expected  to  throw  light  on  the 
earlier  portions  of  Scripture.  We  have  already  noticed 
the  curious  parallelism  which  exists  between  the  legend 
of  Sargon's  exposure  in  an  ark  of  bulrushes  and  the 
similar  exposure  of  the  great  Israelitish  leader  Moses  on 
the  waters  of  the  Nile.  The  parallelism  exists  even 
further  than  this  common  account  of  their  infancy. 
Sargon  of  Accad  was  emphatically  the  founder  of  Semitic 
supremacy  in  Babylonia ;  he  was  the  great  lawgiver  of 
Babylonian  legend;  and  to  him  was  assigned  the  com- 
,  pilation  of  those  works  on  astrology  and  augury  from 
which  the  wise  men  of  the  Chaldeeans  subsequently 

44  LECTURE   I. 

derived  their  lore.  Moses  was  equally  the  legislator  of 
the  Israelites  and  the  successful  vindicator  of  Semitic 
independence  from  the  exactions  of  Egyptian  tyranny, 
and  future  generations  quoted  the  books  of  the  Hebrew 
law  under  his  name.  As  we  have  seen,  Sargon  was  a 
historical  personage,  and  popular  tradition  merely  treated 
him  as  it  has  treated  other  heroes  of  the  past,  by  attach 
ing  to  him  the  myths  and  legends  that  had  once  been 
told  of  the  gods. 

Now  the  name  of  the  great  Hebrew  legislator  has  long 
been  a  puzzle  and  a  subject  of  dispute.  In  the  Hebrew 
Old  Testament  it  is  connected  with  the  Hebrew  verb 
maskdh,  "  to  draw  out,"  not,  indeed,  in  the  sense  that 
Moses  was  he  who  had  been  drawn  out  of  the  water,  for 
this  would  not  be  grammatically  permissible,  though 
Pharaoh's  daughter  puns  upon  the  idea  (Exod.  ii.  10), 
but  in  the  sense  of  a  leader  who  had  drawn  his  people 
out  of  the  house  of  bondage  and  led  them  through  the 
waves  of  the  sea.  The  translators  of  the  Septuagint,  on 
the  other  hand,  living  as  they  did  in  Egypt,  endeavoured 
to  give  the  word  an  Egyptian  form  and  an  Egyptian  j 
etymology.  With  them  the  name  is  always  Mwvo-^s, 
which  Josephos  tells  us  is  derived  from  the  Egyptian 
words  mdj  "  water,'7  and  uses,  "  saved  from  the  water."1 
But  this  etymology,  apart  from  other  imperfections, 
depends  upon  the  change  the  translators  of  the  Septuagint  j 
have  themselves  made  in  the  pronunciation  of  the  name* 
Modern  Egyptian  scholars,  equally  willing  to  find  for  it 
an  Egyptian  derivation,  have  had  recourse  to  the  Egyp- 1 
tian  messu  or  mes,  "a  son."  This  word,  it  is  true,  when' 

occurring  in  proper  names  is  usually  combined  with  thej 

. . 1 

1  Antiq.  ii.  9.  6 ;  Cont.  Ap.  i.  31. 


name  of  a  deity ;  Barneses,  for  example,  the  Sesostris  of 
the  Greeks,  being  written  in  the  hieroglyphics  Ea-messu, 
"born  of  the  Sun-god."  But  it  is  conceivable  that  we 
might  occasionally  meet  with  it  alone,  and  it  is  also  con 
ceivable,  though  not  very  probable,  that  the  daughter  of 
the  Egyptian  king  would  assign  to  her  adopted  child  the 
simple  name  of  "  son."  It  is  much  less  conceivable  that 
such  an  Egyptian  name  would  be  that  by  which  a  national 
hero  would  be  afterwards  known  to  his  Semitic  country 
men.  It  is  difficult  to  believe  that  the  founder  of  the 
Israelitish  people  would  have  borne  a  title  which  the 
Israelites  did  not  understand,  and  which  could  remind 
them  only  of  that  hated  Egyptian  land  wherein  they  had 
been  slaves. 

Josephos  has  preserved  an  extract  from  the  Egyptian 
historian  Manetho,  which  relates  the  Egyptian  version 
of  the  story  of  the  Exodus  as  it  was  told  in  the  second 
century  before  our  era.  In  this  it  is  stated  that  the 
earlier  name  of  Moses  was  Osarsiph,  and  that  he  had 
been  priest  of  Heliopolis  or  On.  Here  it  is  evident  that 
Moses  and  Joseph  have  been  confounded  together.  The 
.name  of  Joseph,  who  married  the  daughter  of  the  priest 
of  On,  has  been  decomposed  into  two  elements,  the  first 
of  which  is  the  divine  name  Jeho,  and  this  has  been 
changed  into  its  supposed  Egyptian  equivalent  Osar  or 
Osiris.  It  is  clear  that,  whatever  might  have  been  his 
opinion  about  the  name  of  Joseph,  Manetho  had  no  doubt 
that  that  of  Moses  was  purely  Israelitish.  It  was  not  until 
he  had  become  the  Israelitish  lawgiver  and  had  ceased  to 
be  an  Egyptian  priest  that  Osarsiph  took  the  name  of 

But  Moses   finds   no   satisfactory  etymology  in   the 

46  LECTURE   I. 

pages  of  the  Hebrew  lexicon.  It  stands  alone  among 
Hebrew  proper  names,  like  Aaron  and  David.  We  do 
not  hear  of  any  other  persons  who  have  borne  the  name. 
If,  therefore,  it  is  Semitic,  it  must  belong  to  an  older 
stratum  of  Semitic  nomenclature  than  that  preserved 
to  us  in  the  Old  Testament.  We  must  look  to  other 
branches  of  the  Semitic  stock  for  its  explanation. 

There  is  only  one  other  branch  of  the  Semitic  family 
whose  records  are  earlier  than  those  of  the  Hebrews. 
Arabic  literature  begins  long  after  the  Christian  era, 
when  Jewish  and  Greek  and  even  Christian  names  and 
ideas  had  penetrated  into  the  heart  of  the  Arabian  penin 
sula.  The  Arabic  language,  moreover,  belongs  to  a 
different  division  of  the  Semitic  family  of  speech  from 
that  to  which  Hebrew  belongs.  To  compare  Arabic  and 
Hebrew  together  is  like  comparing  Latin  with  modern 
German.  There  is,  however,  one  Semitic  language  which 
has  the  closest  affinities  to  Hebrew,  and  this  is  also  the 
language  of  which  we  possess  records  older  than  those 
of  the  Hebrew  Scriptures.  I  need  hardly  say  that  I  am 
referring  to  Assyrian. 

Now  the  Assyrian  equivalent  of  the  Hebrew  Mosheh, 
"  Moses,"  would  be  mdsu,  and,  as  it  happens,  mdsu  is  a 
word  which  occurs  not  unfrequently  in  the  inscriptions. 
It  was  a  word  of  Accadian  origin,  but  since  the  days  of 
Sargon  of  Accad  had  made  itself  so  thoroughly  at  home 
in  the  language  of  the  Semitic  Babylonians  as  to  count 
henceforth  as  a  genuinely  Semitic  term.  Mdsu  signified 
as  nearly  as  possible  all  that  we  mean  by  the  word 
"hero."1  As  such,  it  was  an  epithet  applied  to  more 

"  hero,"  has  of  course  no  connection  with  mdsu,  "  double," 
on  which  see  Jensen,  in  the  Zeitschrift  fur  Assyrioloyie,  i.  3,  pp.  259, 


than  one  divinity;  there  was  one  god  more  especially 
for  whom  it  became  a  name.  This  god  was  the  deity 
sometimes  called  Adar  by  Assyrian  scholars,  sometimes 
Nin-ip,  but  whose  ordinary  name  among  the  Assyrians 
is  still  a  matter  of  uncertainty.  He  was  a  form  of  the 
Sun-god,  originally  denoting  the  scorching  sun  of  mid 
day.  He  thus  became  invested  with  the  sterner  attri 
butes  of  the  great  luminary  of  day,  and  was  known  to 
his  worshippers  as  "  the  warrior  of  the  gods."  The  title 
of  Mdsu,  however,  was  not  confined  to  Adar.  It  was 
given  also  to  another  solar  deity,  Merodach,  the  tutelar 
god  of  Babylon  and  the  antagonist  of  the  dragon  of 
chaos,  and  was  shared  by  him  with  JSTergal,  whose  special 
function  it  was  to  guard  and  defend  the  world  of  the 
dead.  But  Nergal  himself  was  but  the  sun  of  night,  the 
solar  deity,  that  is  to  say,  after  he  had  accomplished  his 
daily  work  in  the  bright  world  above  and  had  descended 
to  illuminate  for  a  time  the  world  below. 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  the  name  of  mdsu,  "  the  hero" 
or  "  leader,"  was  in  a  peculiar  sense  associated  with  the 
Sun-god,  the  central  object  of  primitive  Semitic  worship. 
But  it  seems  to  have  had  another  signification  which  it 
is  difficult  to  bring  into  connection  with  the  ideas  of 
leadership  and  war.  The  character  which  represented 

260.  In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  70,  167,  mdsu  is  rendered  by  asaridu,  "first 
born"  or  "leader"  (in  1.  171  by  ellu  and  ibbu,  "illustrious").  Some 
might  perhaps  see  a  reference  to  the  other  meaning  of  mdsu  ("  twin") 
in  the  close  association  of  Moses  and  Aaron.  There  is  no  difficulty 
about  the  equivalence  of  the  sibilants  in  the  Hebrew  and  Assyrian 
words,  since  the  Hebrew  sJrin  corresponds  with  the  Assyrian  s  in  proper 
names  which,  like  Asshur,  belong  to  the  earlier  period  of  Hebrew  inter 
course  with  Babylonia,  and  in  words  which  are  not  proper  names  it 
always  corresponds.  The  name  of  Aaron,  I  may  add,  seems  to  find  its 
root  in  the  Assyrian  aharu,  "  to  send." 

48  LECTURE    T. 

the  idea  of  mdsu  or  "hero,"  also  represented  the  idea  of 
"a  collection  of  books."1  With  the  determinative  of 
personality  prefixed,  it  further  denotes  "a  scribe"  or 
"  librarian."  It  is  at  least  remarkable  that  Moses  the 
Hebrew  legislator  was  also  the  unwearied  scribe  to  whom 
Hebrew  tradition  referred  the  collection  of  its  earliest 
documents  and  the  compilation  of  its  legal  code. 

But  it  was  in  the  signification  of  "hero"  that  the 
Assyrian  mdsu  made  its  way  into  astrology,  and  was 
thus  carried  wherever  a  knowledge  of  Chaldaean  astro 
logical  lore  was  spread.     The  Accadians  had  pictured 
the  sky  as  the  counterpart  of  the  rich  alluvial  plain  of 
Babylonia  in  which  they  dwelt.     In  the  remote  age  to 
which  their  first  observations  of  the  stars  reached  back, 
the  sun  still  entered  the  zodiacal  constellation  known  to 
us  as  Taurus  at  the  time  of  the  vernal  equinox.     It  is 
in  consequence  of  this  fact  that  the  constellation  is  even 
yet   called  by  us  Taurus,  "the  bull."      The  sun  was 
likened  by  the  old  Accadian  star-gazers  to  a  ploughman 
yoking  his  oxen  to  his  glittering  plough;  nay,  he  was 
even  likened  to  an  ox  himself;  and  the  title  given  to 
Merodach   the   Sun-god  when  he   passed  through   the 
twelve  zodiacal  signs  was  Gudi-bir,  "the  bull  of  light." 
Hence  it  was  that  the  ecliptic  was  termed  "  the  yoke  of 
heaven,"  bound  as  it  were  upon  the  neck  of  the  solar 
bull ;  that  the  first  of  the  zodiacal  signs,  the  opener  of 
the  primitive  Accadian  year,  was  called  "the  directing 
bull,"  "the  bull  who  guides"  the  year;  and  that  two 
prominent  stars  received  the  names  of  "Bull  of  Ami" 
and   "Bull  of  Eimmon."      But  as  in  the  Babylonian 

1  See  W.  A.  L  ii.  48.  25,  26,  where  mas  is  explained  by  kissu  sa 


plain  below,  so  too  in  the  plain  of  heaven  above,  there 
were  sheep  as  well  as  oxen.  The  seven  planets  were 
"the  seven  bell-wethers,"  and  by  their  side  was  another 
group  of  seven  stars,  entitled  "the  lu-mdsi"  or  "sheep 
of  the  hero."1  The  first  of  these  was  "the  star  of  the 
wain;"  and  among  them  were  reckoned  the  star  of  "  the 
eagle,"  the  symbol  of  the  meridian  sun,  the  star  of  the 
goddess  Bahu,  "the  pure  wild  heifer"  of  the  gods,  and 
the  star  "  of  the  shepherd  of  the  heavenly  herds,"  the 
hero  "who  fights  with  weapons."  The  last-mentioned 
star  is  Eegulus,  and  in  his  Greek  name  of  Bootes,  "the 
herdsman,"  we  may  see  a  lingering  echo  of  the  Accadian 
story  which  made  its  way  through  the  hands  of  the 
Phoenicians  to  Greece.  Bootes,  however,  was  not  ori 
ginally  the  "  hero,"  one  of  whose  flock  he  was  himself 
held  to  be.  Mdsu,  the  "hero"  of  the  astronomers,  could 
only  have  been  the  sun. 

It  is  not  more  strange  that  a  name  thus  intimately 
associated  with  the  religious  and  astrological  beliefs  of 
Babylonia  should  have  found  its  way  to  the  west,  than 
that  names  like  Nebo  and  Sin,  which  are  similarly  reli 
gious  and  astrological,  should  have  done  so  too.  Moses, 
!  it  will  be  remembered,  died  on  the  summit  of  Mount 
Nebo  in  sight  of  the  "  moon-city"  Jericho.  Now  Nebo, 

1  Jensen  has  shown  that  mad  in  this  combination  was  further  used 
in  the  sense  of  "twins,"  the  stars  composing  the  "lu-masi"  being 
grouped  as  twins.  It  is  an  example  of  the  obliteration  of  the  original 
signification  of  an  epithet  by  a  secondary  one.  "The  sheep  of  the 
hero,"  the  Accadian  Iu-mas9  became  the  Semitic  lu-mdsi,  "  the  twin 
oxen,"  lu  being  an  Assyrian  word  for  "ox."  The  "seven  lu-bad,"  or 
"old  sheep,"  shows,  however,  what  the  primitive  meaning  of  lu  must 
have  been. 


50  LECTURE   I. 

as  we  shall  see,  was  the  prophet-god  of  Babylon  and 
Borsippa,  the  offspring  of  the  Sun-god  Merodach,  and 
the  patron  of  writing  and  literature.  He  also  figured 
among  the  stars.  Together  with  the  stars  of  Istar  and 
Nergal,  he  was  accounted  one  of  the  seven  " heroes"  or 
mdsu.  As  Nebo  was  the  interpreter  of  Merodach,  so  in 
the  language  of  astrology  his  star  was  itself  a  mdsu  or 
solar  hero.  Sin  was  the  Babylonian  name  of  the  Moon- 
god.  We  learn  from  a  Himyaritic  inscription  that  his 
name  had  been  carried  into  southern  Arabia,  and  there 
is  therefore  no  reason  why  it  should  not  have  been  im 
ported  into  northern  Arabia  as  well.  And  we  seem  to 
meet  with  it  in  the  name  of  the  wilderness  of  Sin,  to 
which  Moses  conducted  the  children  of  Israel  when  they 
had  first  left  Egypt,  before  they  arrived  at  Mount  Sinai. 
Sinai  itself  can  scarcely  signify  anything  else  than  the 
mountain  sacred  to  the  Moon-god ;  and  we  can  therefore 
well  believe  that  a  shrine  of  Sin  may  have  existed  upon 
it,  and  pilgrims  have  made  their  way  to  the  sanctuary 
long  before  the  Israelites  demanded  their  "  three  days' 
journey  into  the  wilderness  to  sacrifice  to  the  Lord" 
(Exod.  viii.  27). 

It  is  possible  that  the  name  of  Joseph,  like  that  cf 
Moses,  may  receive  its  explanation  from  Babylonia. 
Already  at  the  time  when  the  book  of  Genesis  was 
written,  its  original  meaning  seems  to  have  been  for 
gotten.  An  alternative  etymology  is  there  proposed 
(xxx.  23,  24),  from  dsdph,  "to  take  away,"  and  ydsdph, 
"  to  add ; "  while  in  the  Psalms  (Ixxxi.  6)  another  deriva 
tion  is  suggested,  which  would  connect  it  (as  was  after-  j 
wards  done  by  Manetho)  with  the  sacred  name  of  the , 


God  of  Israel.1  Now  Joseph  was  not  only  the  father 
of  the  Israelitish  tribes  of  Ephraim  and  Manasseh,  he 
was  also  a  deity  worshipped  by  the  older  inhabitants 
of  Canaan.  More  than  two  centuries  before  the  date 
assigned  by  Egyptologists  to  the  Exodus,  the  great 
Egyptian  conqueror  Thothmes  III.  inscribed  upon  the 
walls  of  the  temple  of  Karnak  the  names  of  the  cities 
captured  by  him  in  Palestine.  Among  them  are  Yaqab-el, 
"Jacob  the  God,"  and  Iseph-el,  " Joseph  the  God." 
We  are  therefore  tempted  to  think  that  the  expression 
"the  house  of  Joseph"  may  have  belonged  to  an  earlier 
period  than  that  in  which  it  was  applied  to  the  tribes  of 
Ephraim  and  Manasseh  ;  that,  in  fact,  like  Beth-el,  "  the 
house  of  God,"  it  was  once  used  by  the  Canaanites  in  a 
literal  sense.  Now  Beth-el,  we  are  told,  the  older  name 
of  which  was  Luz,  was  taken  by  the  house  of  Joseph, 
and  became  in  later  times  one  of  the  two  great  sanctuaries 
of  the  northern  kingdom.  "What  if  Beth-el  had  itself 
been  the  more  ancient  "  house  of  Joseph ;"  what  if  "  the 
house  of  the  god"  and  "the  house  of  Joseph"  had  in 
Canaanitish  days  been  one  and  the  same  ?  The  question 
may  receive  an  answer  if  we  turn  for  it  to  the  Assyrian 
inscriptions.  Here  we  find  asipu  or  asip  used  in  the 
sense  of  "  a  diviner."  The  word  was  actually  borrowed 
by  the  Aramaic  of  Daniel  under  the  form  of  ashshdph'^ 

1  Manetho  (ap.  Joseph,  cont.  Ap.  i.  28)  states  that  the  original 
name  of  Moses  was  Osarsiph,  and  that  he  had  been  a  priest  of  Helio- 
polis  or  On.     Osar-siph  is  simply  Joseph,  Osar  or  Osiris  bein    substi 
tuted  for  Jeho  (Jo)  or  Jahveh.    Joseph,  it  will  be  remembered,  married 
the  daughter  of  the  priest  of  On. 

2  "VVe  should  have  expected  a  samecJi  instead  of  a  sliin  ;  the  word, 
however,  must  have  been  borrowed,  since  we  do  not  meet  with  it  else 
where  in  the  Old  Testament.    By  the  side  of  asijpn  we  find  teippu,  tho 

52  LECTURE   I. 

in  old  Hebrew  and  Phoenician,  its  form  would  have 
more  nearly  approached  that  of  Joseph.  The  asipu  or 
"  diviner"  plays  a  considerable  part  in  the  religious 
literature  of  Babylonia,  and  the  very  phrase  lit  assaputi, 
"  the  house  of  the  oracle,"  is  actually  met  with.  A  god 
who  seems  to  be  Bel  in  his  character  of  delivering  oracles 
through  the  voice  of  the  thunder  is  called  "  the  hero  who 
prophesies"  or  "  divines  uprightly."  Although,  there 
fore,  it  is  a  point  which  cannot  be  proved  at  present,  it 
appears  nevertheless  probable  that  the  name  of  Joseph 
was  originally  identical  with  the  Babylonian  asipu,  "the 
god  of  the  oracle;"  and  that  long  before  the  Israelitish 
house  of  Joseph  took  possession  of  Luz,  it  had  been  a 
house  of  Joseph  in  another  sense  and  the  sanctuary  of  a 
Canaanitish  oracle.1 

But  whether  or  not  we  are  to  look  to  Babylonia  for 
an  explanation  of  the  name  of  Joseph,  there  is  little 
doubt  that  the  Babylonian  pantheon  throws  light  on  the 
names  of  the  three  first  kings  of  Israel.  Some  years 
ago  I  endeavoured  to  show  in  the  pages  of  the  Modern 
Review  (January,  1884),  that  the  names  by  which  they 
are  known  to  history,  Saul  and  David  and  Solomon, 
were  not  the  names  they  received  in  childhood,  but 
names  subsequently  applied  to  them  and  current  among 
the  people.  As  regards  the  name  of  Solomon,  we  are 
actually  told  that  this  was  the  case ;  his  original  name — 
the  name  given  by  the  Lord  through  Nathan — was 

name  of  a  particular  class  of  priests  whose  duties  were  confined  to  | 
soothsaying.  It  was  from  this  word  that  the  character  which  denoted  j 
"speech"  derived  its  value  of  isip.  Siptu,  "incantation,"  was  en  in  ; 

i  Cfc.Gen.  xliv.  5 


Jedidiah,  which  was  changed  into  Solomon,  "the  peaceful 
one,"  when  his  father  had  "peace from  all  his  enemies," 
and  had  surrounded  his  new  capital  of  Jerusalem  (perhaps 
the  city  of  "peace")  with  a  single  wall.1  That  David's 
first  name  was  El-hanan  (or  Baal-hanan)  has  long  been 
suspected,  since  it  is  stated  in  one  passage  that  Elhanan 
the  son  of  a  Bethlehemite  "  slew  Goliath  the  Gittite, 
the  staff  of  whose  spear  was  like  a  weaver's  beam,"2 
while  the  feat  is  elsewhere  ascribed  to  David;  and  at 
the  head  of  the  thirty  mighty  men  of  David  is  placed 
Elhanan  the  son  of  Dodo  of  Bethlehem,  where  we  should 
probably  read  "  Elhanan  who  is  Dodo"  or  David.3  Saul, 
too,  is  presumably  of  similarly  popular  origin,  the  name 
Saul,  "  the  one  asked  for,"  being  singularly  appropriate  to 
a  king  for  whom,  we  are  told,  the  people  had  "  asked." 
Now  there  is  a  curious  parallelism  between  the  three 
first  kings  of  Israel  and  the  three  last  kings  of  Edom 
enumerated  in  the  36th  chapter  of  Genesis,  where  we 
have,  I  believe,  an  extract  from  the  state-annals  of  the 
Edomites.  Saul  had  "vexed"  the  Edomites,4  and  David 
had  completed  the  conquest;  but  the  accession  of  Solomon 
and  the  murder  of  Joab  brought  with  them  almost  imme- 

1  2  Sam.  xii.  24,  25.     The  verses  should  be  rendered  :  "  She  bare  a 
son  and  his  name  was  called  Solomon ;  and  the  Lord  loved  him,  and 
sent  by  the  hand  of  Nathan  the  prophet  and  called  his  name  Jedidiah, 
because  of  the  Lord." 

2  2  Sam.  xxi.  19,  where  Ya'are,  Ya'ur  or  Ya'ir,  seems  to  be  a  cor 
ruption  of  Jesse,  and  oregim,  "  weavers,"  has  been  repeated  from  the 
following  line.    The  text  was  already  corrupt  before  the  compilation  of 
1  Chron.  xx.  5. 

8  2  Sam.  xxiii.  24.  As  thirty  names  follow  that  of  Elhanan,  he 
cannot  himself  have  been  one  of  the  thirty,  and  being  ranked  with, 
them  must  have  been  their  head. 

4  1  Sam.  xiv.  47 ;  see,  too,  xxii.  9. 

54  LECTURE   I. 

diately  the  successful  revolt  of  Edom  under  Hadad,  who 
had  married  the  sister  of  Pharaoh's  queen.1  In  strange 
accordance  with  this,  we  find  that  the  three  last  Edomite 
kings  mentioned  in  the  list  in  Genesis  were  Saul,  Baal- 
hanan  and  Hadar — a  name  which  must  be  corrected  into 
Hadad,  as  in  Hadarezer  for  Hadadezer.  The  kings  of 
Edom  seem  to  have  had  a  predilection  for  assuming  the 
names  of  the  divinities  they  worshipped.  We  have 
among  them  Hadad,  the  son  of  Bedad  (or  Ben-Dad), 
Hadad  and  Dad  being,  as  we  learn  from  the  cuneiform 
inscriptions,  titles  of  the  supreme  Baal  in  Syria,  whose 
attributes  caused  the  Assyrians  to  identify  him  with 
their  own  Eimmon ;  and  Hadad  was  followed  by  Samlah 
of  Masrekah  or  the  "  Yine-lands,"  in  whose  name  we 
discover  that  of  a  Phoenician  god  recorded  in  a  recently 
found  inscription  as  well  as  that  of  the  Greek  Semele.2 

1  1  Kings  xi.  19—25. 

2  See  the  letters  of  Dr.  Neubauer  and  myself  in  the  Athenceum  of 
Sept.  12  and  Sept.  26,  1885.    As  the  worship  of  Dionysos,  the  Wine- 
god,  had  been  borrowed  by  the  Greeks  from  the  East,  it  had  long  been 
assumed  that  the  name  of  Semele  must  be  of  Phoenician  extraction ; 
but  it  was  only  in  1884  that  a  Phoenician  inscription  was  found  in  a 
bay  to  the  west  of  the  Peireeos  containing  the  name  Pen-'Samlath  ("  the 
face  of  'Samlath").    The  first  king  of  Edom  mentioned  in  Gen.  xxxvi. 
is  Bela  the  son  of  Beor,  that  is,  Bileam  or  Balaam  the  son  of  Beor. 
Dr.  Neubauer  has  shown  that  Balaam  is  Bil-'am,  "  Baal  is  Am(mi)," 
the  supreme  god  of  Ammon  (as  we  have  learned  from  the  cuneiform 
inscriptions),  whose  name  enters  into  those  of  Jerobo-am  and  Rehobo- 
am.    An  Assyrian  mythological  tablet  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  65)  informs  us 
that  Emu  (E2)  was  the  Nergal  of  the  Shuites  on  the  western  bank  of 
the  Euphrates.     The  words  with  which  the  list  of  the  Edomite  kings 
is  introduced  ("  These  are  the  kings  that  reigned  in  the  land  of  Edom 
before  there  reigned  any  king  over  the  children  of  Israel")  are  of  course 
an  addition  by  the  Hebrew  excerptist.     It  will  be  noticed  that  the 
father  of  the  last  king  in  the  list,  Hadad  II.  (Hadar),  is  not  mentioned, 
while,  contrary  to  the  almost  universal  practice  of  the  Old  Testament, 


We  need  not  be  surprised,  therefore,  if  the  name  of  Saul 
also  turns  out  to  be  that  of  a  divinity.  "We  are  told  that 
Saul  came  from  "Eehoboth  of  the  river"  Euphrates; 
and  since  Eehoboth  means  the  public  squares  and  suburbs 
of  a  capital  city,  and  is  consequently  used  of  Nineveh 
in  the  book  of  Genesis  (x.  11),  we  must  look  for  the 
Eehoboth  of  the  Euphrates  in  Babylon.  Now  one  of 
the  principal  names  under  which  the  Sun-god  was  known 
at  Babylon  was  Savul  or  Sawul,  which  in  Hebrew  cha 
racters  would  become  Saul.  In  Saul,  accordingly,  I 
think  we  may  see  a  Babylonian  deity  transported  to 
Edom  and  perhaps  also  to  Palestine. 

Hadad  occupied  a  higher  position  than  Saul.  He 
was,  as  I  have  said,  the  supreme  Baal  or  Sun-god,  whose 
worship  extended  southward  from  Carchemish  to  Edom 
and  Palestine.  At  Damascus  he  was  adored  under  the 
Assyrian  name  of  Eimmon,  and  Zechariah  (xii.  11)  alludes 
to  the  cult  of  the  compound  Hadad -Eimmon  in  the 
close  neighbourhood  of  the  great  Canaanitish  fortress  of 
Megiddo.  Coins  bear  the  name  of  Abd-Hadad,  "the 
servant  of  Hadad,"  who  reigned  in  the  fourth  century 
at  Hierapolis,  the  later  successor  of  Carchemish,  and, 
under  the  abbreviated  form  of  DMa,  Shalmaneser  speaks 

the  names  of  his  wife  and  mother-in-law  are  given.  This  is  explained 
by  1  Kings  xi.  19,  where  we  are  told  that  he  was  married  to  the  sister 
of  Tahpenes  the  Egyptian  queen.  Mr.  Tomkins  is  probably  right  in 
identifying  Tahpenes  with  the  name  of  the  frontier-fortress  which  was 
known  to  the  Greeks  as  Daphnae,  and  is  now  called  Tel-Defeneh,  so 
that  the  introduction  of  the  name  into  the  text  of  the  book  of  Kings 
would  be  a  marginal  gloss.  Mehetab-el  and  Me-zahab  are  apparently 
the  Semitic  substitutes  of  Egyptian  names  such  as  the  Egyptian  monu 
ments  have  made  us  familiar  with.  Me-zahab  would  presuppose  an 
Egyptian  Nub,  and  Mr.  Tomkins  ingeniously  suggests  that  Genubath, 
the  name  of  the  son  of  Hadad,  represents  the  Egyptian  Ka-nub-ti. 

56  LECTURE   I. 

of  "the  god  Ddda  of  Aleppo"  (Khalman).  The  abbre 
viated  form  was  that  current  among  the  nations  of  the 
north ;  in  the  south  it  was  confounded  with  the  Semitic 
word  which  appears  in  Assyrian  as  dadu,  "dear  little 
child."  This  is  the  word  which  we  have  in  Be-dad  or 
Ben-Dad,  "  the  son  of  Dad,"  the  father  of  the  Edomite 
Hadad ;  we  have  it  also  in  the  David  of  the  Old  Testa 
ment.  David,  or  Dod,  as  the  word  ought  to  be  read, 
which  is  sometimes  written  Dodo  with  the  vocalic  suffix 
of  the  nominative,  is  the  masculine  corresponding  to  a 
Phoenician  goddess  whose  name  means  "the  beloved 
one,"  and  who  was  called  Dido  by  the  writers  of  Eome. 
Dido,  in  fact,  was  the  consort  of  the  Sun-god,  conceived 
as  Tammuz,  "the  beloved  son,"  and  was  the  presiding 
deity  of  Carthage,  whom  legend  confounded  with  Elissa, 
the  foundress  of  the  city.  In  the  article  I  have  alluded 
to  above,  I  expressed  my  conviction  that  the  names  of 
Dodo  and  David  pointed  to  a  worship  of  the  Sun-god, 
under  the  title  of  "the  beloved  one,"  in  southern  Canaan 
as  well  as  in  Phoenicia.  I  had  little  idea  at  the  time 
how  soon  my  belief  would  be  verified.  Within  the  last 
year,  the  squeeze  of  the  Moabite  stone,  now  in  the  Louvre, 
has  been  subjected  to  a  thorough  examination  by  the 
German  Professors  Socin  and  Smend,  with  the  result  of 
correcting  some  of  the  received  readings  and  of  filling 
up  some  of  the  lacunae.  One  of  the  most  important  dis 
coveries  that  have  been  thus  made  is  that  the  Israelites 
of  the  northern  kingdom  worshipped  a  Dodo  or  Dod  by 
the  side  of  Yahveh,  or  rather  that  they  adored  the 
supreme  God  under  the  name  of  Dodo1  as  well  as  under 

1  Written  iTTn  in  the  Moabite  text,  where  he  elsewhere  takes  the 
place  of  the  Hebrew  waw. 


that  of  Yahveh.  Mesha,  the  Moabite  king,  in  describing 
the  victories  which  his  god  Chemosh  had  enabled  him  to 
gain  over  his  Israelitish  foes,  tells  us  that  he  had  carried 
away  from  Ataroth  "the  arel  (or  altar)  of  Dodo  and 
dragged  it  before  Chemosh,"  and  from  Nebo  "the  arels 
(or  altars)  of  Yahveh,"  which  he  likewise  "  dragged  before 
Chemosh."  Here  the  arel  or  "altar"  of  Dodo  is  placed 
in  parallelism  with  the  arels  of  Yahveh ;  and  it  is  quite 
clear,  therefore,  that  Dodo,  like  Yahveh,  was  a  name 
under  which  the  deity  was  worshipped  by  the  people  of 
the  land.  I  have  suggested  that  Dod  or  Dodo  was  an 
old  title  of  the  supreme  God  in  the  Jebusite  Jerusalem, 
and  that  hence  Isaiah  (v.  1),  when  describing  Jerusalem 
as  the  tower  of  the  vineyard  the  Lord  had  planted  in 
Israel,  calls  him  D6d-i,  "  my  beloved."  We  can  easily 
understand  how  a  name  of  the  kind,  with  such  a  signifi 
cation,  should  have  been  transferred  by  popular  affection 
from  the  Deity  to  the  king  of  whom  it  is  said  that  "  all 
Israel  and  Judah  loved  him"  (1  Sam.  xviii.  16). 

That  Solomon  was  a  divine  name  we  have  the  express 
testimony  of  the  cuneiform  inscriptions  for  asserting. 
Sallimmanu,  "the  god  of  peace,"  was  a  god  honoured 
particularly  in  Assyria,  where  the  name  of  more  than 
one  famous  king  (Shalman-eser)  was  compounded  with 
it.  As  the  name  of  Nineveh  was  ideographically  ex 
pressed  by  a  fish  within  a  basin  of  water,1  while  the 
name  itself  was  connected  in  popular  etymology  with 

1  The  ideograph  also  represented  the  name  of  the  goddess  Nina — a 
word  which  means  "the  Lady"  in  Sumerian — who  was  the  daughter 
of  Ea  the  god  of  Eridu  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  1,  38).  There  was  a  city  or  sanc 
tuary  in  Babylonia  of  the  same  name  (K  4629,  Rev.  8),  which  explains 
the  statement  of  Ktesias  that  Nineveh  stood  on  the  Euphrates  (ap. 
Diod.  ii.  3). 

58  LECTURE   I. 

the  Assyrian  nunu,  "a  fish,"  it  is  possible  that  the  cult 
of  Sallimman  or  Solomon  in  Assyria  was  due  to  the  fact 
that  he  was  a  fish-god,  perhaps  Ea  himself.  In  a  list  of 
the  gods  whose  images  stood  in  the  numerous  temples  of 
Assyria  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  66,  Rev.  40),  mention  is  made  of 
"Sallimmanu  the  fish,  the  god  of  the  city  of  Temen- 
Sallim  (the  foundation  of  peace)."  His  worship  was 
carried  westward  at  a  comparatively  early  period,  and 
in  the  age  of  Shalmaneser  II.  the  royal  scribe  at  Sadikan, 
now  Arban  on  the  Khabur,  was  named  Sallimmanu-nunu- 
sar-ilani,  "  Solomon  the  fish  is  king  of  the  gods."1  So, 
too,  in  the  time  of  Tiglath-Pileser  III.  (B.C.  732)  the 
Moabite  king  was  Salamanu  or  Solomon,  a  plain  proof 
both  that  the  god  was  known  in  Moab,  and  also  that  in 
Moab,  as  in  Israel,  the  name  of  the  god  could  be  applied 
to  a  man. 

If  a  gleam  of  light  has  thus  been  cast  by  the  monu 
ments  of  Assyria  and  Babylonia  upon  the  names  of  the 
earlier  kings  of  Israel,  it  is  but  feeble  in  comparison 
with  the  illustrations  they  afford  us  of  the  ritual  and 
religious  practices  recorded  in  the  Old  Testament.  The 
ritual  texts,  fragmentary  as  they  are,  are  numerous 
among  the  debris  of  Assur-bani-pal's  library,  and  the 
references  we  find  from  time  to  time  in  the  historical 
inscriptions  to  religious  rites  and  ceremonies  give  us 
tantalising  glimpses  into  the  service  and  ceremonial  of 
the  Assyro-Babylonian  priesthood. 

1  On  a  cylinder  now  in  the  British  Museum.  The  inscription  runs  : 
"  The  seal  of  Muses-Adar  the  scribe,  the  son  of  Adar-esses  the  scribe,  | 
the  son  of  Sallimanu-mm-sar-ilani  the  scribe."  Sir  A.  H.  Layard  dis-  | 
covered  winged  bulls  at  Arban,  inscribed  with  the  words,  "  The  palace  j 
of  Muses-Adar."  For  a  representation  of  the  seal,  see  George  Smith's  j 
Chaldean  Genesis  (ed.  Sayce),  p.  97. 


In  Assyria  the  king  himself  performed  many  of  the 
functions  of  a  high-priest.  Like  Solomon  of  Israel,  he 
could  offer  sacrifice  and  pour  out  libations  to  the  gods. 
Assur-ris-ilim  is  entitled  "the  appointed  of  the  divine 
father  (Bel),  the  priest  (sangu)  of  Assur  ;"*  Assur-natsir- 
pal  calls  himself  "  the  appointed  of  Bel,  the  priest  (sangu) 
of  Assur,  the  son  of  Tiglath-Adar  the  appointed  of 
Bel,  the  priest  of  Assur,  the  son  of  Eimmon-nirari  the 
appointed  of  Bel,  the  priest  of  Assur;"2  Sargon  is  simi 
larly  "  the  appointed  of  Bel,  the  exalted  priest  (NU-ES) 
of  Assur,"  as  well  as  "  the  high-priest  (patesi)  of  Assur ; " 
while  Nebuchadnezzar  designates  himself  "  the  worship 
per  of  Merodach,  the  supreme  high-priest  (patesi)^  the 
beloved  of  Nebo."3  But  the  union  of  the  two  offices 
was  by  no  means  necessary.  In  the  far-off  pre- Semitic 
age  there  were  kings  of  Tel-loh  as  well  as  patesis  or 
high-priests  of  Tel-loh,  and  the  kings  did  not  take  the 
title  of  high-priest,  while  the  high-priests  did  not  take 
the  title  of  king.  The  earliest  records  of  Assyria  went 
back  to  a  period  when  as  yet  there  were  no  kings,  but 
only  "high-priests  of  Assur;"4  and  among  the  objects 
brought  from  Babylonia  by  Dr.  Hayes  Ward  is  a  barrel- 
shaped  weight  of  green  basalt,  on  which  we  read :  "  the 
palace  of  Nebo-sum-esir  the  son  of  Dakur,  the  high- 
priest  (patesi)  of  Merodach."  A  distinction  is  carefully 
drawn  between  "the  king"  and  "the  high-priest"  in 
the  imprecation  against  the  Yandals  of  the  future  attached 
to  an  old  historical  text  in  the  Accadian  language,5  and 
the  poet  who  embodied  the  Cuthsean  legend  of  the  crea- 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  3,  12.  2  W.  A.  I.  iii.  3,  39. 

8  W.  A.  I.  i.  53,  i.  5.  *  W.  A.  I.  i.  15.  62,  63. 

5  W.A.I,  iv.  12.  36,  37. 

60  LECTURE    I. 

tion  in  his  verses  concludes  by  saying :  "  Thou,  whether 
king,  high-priest,  shepherd  or  any  one  else  whom  God 
shall  call  to  rule  the  kingdom,  I  have  made  for  thee  this 
tablet,  I  have  inscribed  for  thee  this  record-stone,  in  the 
city  of  Cutha,  in  the  temple  of  'Sulim."1  Ktesias,  there 
fore,  was  justified  in  making  a  high-priest  of  his  Baby 
lonian  Belesys — a  name,  by  the  way,  which  appears  in 
the  inscriptions,  under  the  form  of  Balasu,  as  that  of  a 
Babylonian  prince  in  the  time  of  Tiglath-Pileser  III.2 
The  Semitic  title  of  the  high-priest  (nisaJcJcu  or  issaJcJcu) 
indicates  that  his  main  duty  was  to  pour  out  libations 

1  Patesi  and  NU-ES  are  rendered  by  the  Assyrian  nisakku  and  issakku. 
These  have  nothing  to  do  with  an  Aceadian  nes,  as  Lotz  supposed, 
much  less  with  nisu  and  ish,  "a  man,"  as  Guyard  suggested,  but  are 
merely  derivatives  from  the  verb  nasaku,  "to  pour  out  a  libation/' 
which  occurs  in  the  eleventh  tablet  of  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar  (col.  vi. 
1.  4).     Patesi  should  probably  be  read  khattesi  or  khuttesi,  since  the 
country  of  that  name  is  written  indifferently  PA-SE-KI  and  PA-TE-SI-KI 
(W.  A.  I.  ii.  53,  13).    The  substitution  of  &  (tig)  for  patesi  or  khattesi 
in  the  penitential  psalm  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  21,  45)  seems  due  to  a  blunder 
of  the  Semitic  scribe,  who  read  the  first  character  (pa)  as  sig  (see  v. 
19,  55).     NU-ES,  "the  man  of  the  temple,"  is  a  compound  ideograph 
of  Semitic  invention,  which  originated  when  false  analogy  had  caused 
the  termination  akku  to  be  regarded  as  a  separate  suffix,  so  that  the 
root  of  nisakku  was  supposed  to  be  nis  or  nes.     The  old  rendering  of 
pates'i  by  "  viceroy"  rested  on  a  mistake ;  the  word  always  has  reference 
to  the  worship  of  a  god.     The  Nebu-sum-esir  mentioned  in  the  text, 
for  instance,  was  not  the  viceroy  of  a  king,  but  "  the  high-priest  of 
Merodach,"  who  lived  at  Babylon  by  the  side  of  the  king.    The  analogy 
of  nisakku  has  created  sakkanakku,  "  a  high-priest,"  from  sakanu,  which 
is  borrowed  from  the  Aceadian  sagan  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  70,  40),  the  Zoganes 
of  Berossos. 

2  Arbakes  is  equally  the  name  of  a  Median  chief  mentioned  by 
Sargon,  and  Sargon  himself  may  be  the  Akraganes  whom  Ktesias  makes 
the  last  king  but  one  of  Assyria.     As  Schrader  points  out  (Keilin- 
schriften  und  Geschichtsforschung,  p.  516),  in  the  time  of  Ktesias,  Be 
lesys  was  the  Persian  governor  of  Syria  and  Assyria,  and  Arbakes  of 
Media  (Xenophon,  Andb.  vii.  8,  25).    . 


in  honour  of  the  gods,  and  the  phrases  in  which  the 
word  occurs  show  that  he  was  attached  to  the  cult  of 
the  supreme  god  of  the  country  in  which  he  lived.  At 
Babylon  it  was  Merodach  from  whom  the  high-priest 
received  his  title ;  at  Nineveh  it  was  Assur. 

Under  the  high-priest  several  classes  of  subordinate 
priests  were  ranged.  There  was  the  sangu,  for  example, 
whose  title  interchanges  at  times  with  that  of  the  high- 
priest  himself.  The  sangu  properly  signified  one  who 
was  " bound"  or  attached  to  a  particular  deity  or  his 
sanctuary,  who  was  his  slave  and  bondsman.  The  name 
may  therefore  be  compared  with  that  of  the  Levites,  if 
the  latter,  too,  are  those  who  were  "  attached"  to  special 
places  of  worship.  At  Nineveh  there  was  a  sangu  attached 
to  the  harem  which  was  under  the  protection,  of  Istar, 
as  well  as  one  who  was  entitled  "the  strong  sangu"  and 
who  may  accordingly  be  regarded  as  one  of  the  chief 

By  the  side  of  the  sangu  stood  thepdsisu  or  "  anointer," 
whose  duty  it  was  to  purify  with  oil  both  persons  and 
things.  The  cleansing  of  objects  by  anointing  them 
with  oil  was  considered  a  matter  of  great  importance  • 
even  the  stone  tablets  and  foundation-stones  of  a  building 
are  ordered  to  be  cleansed  in  this  way.  The  use  of 
"pure  water"  for  washing  the  hands  and  other  parts  of 
the  body  occupies  a  conspicuous  place  in  the  ritual  texts, 
and  in  one  of  them  we  read  the  following  instructions  in 
regard  to  a  person  who  is  undergoing  purification : 2 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  31.  60,  61.     The  remains  of  the  palace  discovered  by 
Layard  at  Arban  (the  ancient  Sadikan)  belonged,  according  to  the 
inscription  on  the  bulls,  to  "  Muses- Adar  the  priest"  (sangu). 

2  W.A.I.  iv.  26,  40*2. 

62  LECTURE    I. 

"Pure  water  give  him  to  drink,  and  pour  out  the  water 
over  the  man;  remove  the  root  of  the  saffron^),1  and 
offer  pure  wine  and  pure  yeast,  and  place  on  the  heart 
the  fat  of  a  crane2  which  has  been  brought  from  the 
mountains,  and  anoint  the  body  of  the  man  seven  times." 
Another  class  of  priests  were  the  kali,  a  word  borrowed 
by  the  Semites  from  the  Accadian  Jcal,  "illustrious." 
The  Jcalu  was  also  termed  lalaru,  "  the  elder,"  a  word 
again  borrowed  from  the  Accadian  labar,  which  in  Sume- 
rian  appears  in  the  earlier  form  of  lagar?  In  the  epic 
of  Gisdhubar,  where  Ea-bani(?)  is  describing  the  land 
of  Hades  which  he  is  doomed  to  enter,  the  lagaru  and 
the  pdsisu,  or  "anointer,"  are  mentioned  along  with  the 
isippUj  or  "  soothsayer,"  and  the  maJchkhu,  or  "  great 
one,"  from  the  Accadian  makh,  in  which  Prof.  Delitzsch 
sees  the  "mag"  or  "(Bab-)mag"  of  the  Old  Testament.4 
"(In  the  house,  0  my  friend),  which  I  must  enter," 
Ea-bani  is  made  to  say,  "(for  me)  is  treasured  up5  a 
crown  (among  those  who  wear)  crowns,  who  from  days 
of  old  have  ruled  the  earth,  (to  whom)  Anu  and  Bel 
have  given  names  of  renown.  Glory  have  they  given 
to  the  shades  of  the  dead  ;6  they  drink  the  bright  waters. 

1  KurJcane;  in  Accadian,  Jcur-gi-in-na.      2  KurM;  Chaldee,  kurWyd. 

3  See  Zimmern,  Bab.  Busspsalmen,  p.  28,  note  2.     I  may  add  that 
the  kali  are  the  Galli  or  eunuch-priests  of  the  Kappadokian  goddess, 
their  Assyrian  name  having  been  borrowed  along  with  the  religious 
rites  over  which  they  presided. 

4  The  makhkhu  must  have  represented  a  subdivision  of  the  isippit 
since  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  55,  the  word  is  the  equivalent  of  essepuj  "  the 
priest  of  the  god  Nibatu."     Cp.  W.  A.  I.  ii.  33,  31. 

5  KummvAu;  kamcttu  means  "to  keep  oneself,"  not  "to  bow"  (as 
Zimmern  and  Lyon). 

6  Katsuti  and  katsdti,  literally  "  fleshless  ones  ;"  compare  reclaim 
in  Is.  xiv.  9.    The  ideograph  translated  kutstsu  (W,  A.  I.  iv,  15,  38)  is 


In  the  house,  0  my  friend,  which  I  must  enter  dwell 
the  lord1  and  the  lagaru,  dwell  the  soothsayer  (isippu) 
and  the  malchJchu,  dwell  the  anointing  priest  of  the 
abysses  of  the  great  gods,  the  god  Etann&  and  the  god 
ISTer.  (There  dwells)  the  queen  of  the  earth  Mn-ki-gal ; 
(there  the  Lady)  of  the  field,  the  scribe  of  the  earth, 
bows  before  her ;  (there  she  .  .  .)  and  makes  answer  in 
her  presence."  2 

"The  abysses"  or  " deeps"  of  the  great  gods  is  an 
expression  which  requires  explanation.  The  temples  of 
Babylonia  were  provided  with  large  basins  filled  with 
water  and  used  for  purificatory  purposes,  which  resembled 
"  the  sea"  made  by  Solomon  for  his  temple  at  Jerusalem, 
and  were  called  apsi,  " deeps"  or  " abysses."3  It  was 
with  these  "  deeps"  that  fhepasisu  or  "  anointing  priest," 
whose  office  it  was  to  purify  and  cleanse,  was  specially 
concerned.  The  basins  doubtless  stood  in  the  open  air, 
in  the  great  court  within  which  the  temple  itself  was 

also  rendered  surpu,  from  rapu.  The  passage  reads,  dih  (u)  suruppu  . .  . 
kutstsu,  "lunacy,  wasting  fever  .  .  .  consumption."  A  synonym  of 
katsutu  is  tarpu  (Acc.idiaii  dimme,  "spectre"),  the  Hebrew  teraphim 
(see  Neubauer  in  the  Academy,  Oct.  30,  1886). 

1  Zimmern  thinks  that  enu,  "  lord,"  denoted  a  class  of  priests ;  but 
this  is  unlikely,  unless  we  suppose  the  word  to  be  borrowed  from  the 
Accadian  en,  "  an  incantation"   (Assyrian  siptu).     As,  however,   the 
Assyrians  formed  enitu,  "lady"  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  4,  55),  from  enu,  this  sup 
position  is  improbable. 

2  Haupt,  Ntmrodepos,  pp.  17,  19.     In  19,  47,  we  must  read  dup- 
Siurat,  "  female  scribe." 

8  The  ceremonies  attending  the  construction  of  a  bronze  bull  intended 
to  support  one  of  these  seas,  are  described  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  23,  No.  1. 
The  "sea"  is  stated  to  have  been  placed  "between  the  ears  of  the 
bull"  (line  17). 

64  LECTURE    I. 

The  description  of  E-Saggil,  the  temple  of  Bel-Merodach 
at  Babylon,  which  has  been  translated  by  Mr.  George 
Smith,1  states  that  here  at  least  there  was  a  second  court, 
that  of  "Istar  and  Zamama,"  besides  the  great  court. 
Within  the  latter  was  another  walled  enclosure,  built  in 
the  form  of  a  square,  and  containing  the  great  ziggurrat, 
or  "  tower,"  as  well  as  the  temples  and  chapels  of  a  large 
number  of  deities.  This  agglomeration  of  sacred  edifices 
was  due  to  the  fact  that  the  temple  of  Bel  was  a  Baby 
lonian  Pantheon  where  the  images  and  cult  of  the  mani 
fold  gods  of  Chaldgea  were  gathered  together.  Where 
the  temple  was  dedicated  to  one  divinity  only,  there  was 
of  course  only  one  building. 

In  one  particular,  however,  the  temple  of  Bel-Merodach 
differed  from  that  of  every  other  Babylonian  temple  with 
which  we  are  acquainted.  This  is  in  its  orientation.  Its 
sides  face  the  four  points  of  the  compass,  whereas  in  the 
case  of  the  other  temples  it  is  the  corners  that  do  so. 
The  cause  of  this  departure  from  the  usual  canons  of 
Babylonian  sacred  architecture  has  still  to  be  discovered. 

Within,  the  temple  bore  a  striking  likeness  to  that  of 
Solomon.  At  the  extreme  end  was  thepardku,  or  "holy 
of  holies,"  concealed  by  a  curtain  or  veil  from  the  eyes 
of  the  profane.2  Here,  according  to  Nebuchadnezzar, 
was  "  the  holy  seat,  the  place  of  the  gods  who  determine 
destiny,  the  spot  where  they  assemble  together  (?),3  the 
shrine  (parak)  of  fate,  wherein  on  the  festival  of  Zagmuku 
at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  on  the  eighth  and  the 
eleventh  days,  the  divine  king  of  heaven  and  earth,  the 

1  See  Appendix  II.          2  Hence  the  name  pardku,  Heb.  parocheth.  j 
3  So   Flemming,    Die  grosse   Steinplatteninschri/t  Nelukadnezars,  \ 
p.  37. 


lord  of  the  heavens,  seats  himself,  while  the  gods  of 
heaven  and  earth  listen  to  him  in  fear  (and)  stand  bowing 
down  before  him." 1  Here,  too,  Herodotos  tells  us  (i.  183), 
was  a  golden  image  of  the  god,  with  a  golden  table  in 
front  of  it  like  the  golden  table  of  shewbread  in  the 
Jewish  temple.2 

The  little  chapel  of  Makhir,  "the  god  of  dreams," 
discovered  by  Mr.  Hormuzd  Eassam  at  Balawat,  near 
Mosul,  gives  us  further  information  about  the  internal 
arrangement  of  the  shrine.  In  this,  Mr.  Eassam  found 
a  marble  coffer  containing  two  stone  tablets  which  recorded 
Assur-natsir-pal's  victories  and  the  erection  of  the  chapel. 
The  coffer  and  its  contents  remind  us  forcibly  of  the 
Israelitish  ark  with  its  "two  tables  of  stone"  (1  Kings 
viii.  9).  Before  the  coffer,  at  the  north-west  of  the 
chamber,  was  an  altar  of  marble  ascended  by  five  steps, 
where  another  stone  tablet  was  disinterred  similar  to 
those  in  the  coffer.  The  gates  that  led  to  this  temple  of 
Makhir  were  coated  with  plates  of  embossed  bronze, 
which  are  now  in  the  British  Museum.  The  great  templo 
of  Bel-Merodach  at  Babylon  was  adorned  in  a  more 

1  W.  A.  T.  i.  54,  ii.  54—62. 

2  There  seems  to  be  evidence  that  the  institution  of  the  shewbread 
was  known  in  Babylonia.     In  a  fragment  of  a  bilingual  phrase-book 
(K  4207)  we  read  (lines  8,  9),  (Ace.)  mulu  sagar-an-tug-a  e-gur  al-mur- 
ra-in-u-ne,  which  is  translated  biruta  bit  agurri  ipalla^  "the  food- 
provider  looks  down  upon  the  house  of  brick."      (For  ipallas,  see 
W.  A.  I.  iv.  17,  26,  where  the  corresponding  Accadian  verb  appears 
as  ide-minin-barren.)     In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  44,  74,  birutu  is  the  rendering 
of  the  Accadian  iwr  (KI-GAL),  out  of  the  ideographic  representation  of 
which  the  Semitic  scribes  by  an  erroneous  reading  formed  the  word 
kigattu.   Now  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  13,  12,  we  find  ina  kisal  makhklii  kigalla 
luramdta,  "  on  the  high  altar  mayest  thou  found  a  place  of  feeding," 
i.e.  a  table  of  shewbread. 

66  LECTURE    I. 

costly  way.  Its  cedar- work  was  overlaid  by  Nebuchad 
nezzar  with  gold  and  silver,  while  its  furniture,  like  that 
of  Solomon's  temple,  was  of  "  massive  gold." 

The  coffer  of  the  little  temple  of  Imgur-Bel,  or  Balawat, 
resembled  in  form  the  arks,  or  "ships"  as  they  were 
termed,  in  which  the  gods  and  their  symbols  were  carried 
in  religious  processions.1     It  thus  gives  us  a  fair  idea  of 
what  the  Israelitish  ark  of  the  covenant  must  have  been 
like.     It,  too,  was  a  small  shrine  of  rectangular  shape, 
carried  by  means  of  staves  passed  through  rings  at  its 
four  corners.     It  is  somewhat  curious  that  the  Assyrian 
ark  should  have  assumed  this   shape.      The  name  by 
which  it  went  to  the  last  was  that  of  "ship,"  a  proof 
that  it  was  originally  in  the  form,  not  of  an  ark,  but  of  a 
ship.      The  same    transformation  is  observable   in  the 
Biblical  account  of  the  Deluge  as  compared  with  that  of 
the  cuneiform  inscriptions;  here  also  "the  ship"  of  the 
Babylonian  version  has  become  "an  ark."     But  the  fact 
that  the  arks  of  the  Babylonian  gods  were  once  ships  ; 
points  to  a  period  when  the  first  who  made  use  of  them  | 
were  dwellers  by  the  sea-shore.     "We  are  referred  back  j 
to  the  ancient  Chaldsean  city  of  Eridu,  on  the  shores  of  | 
the  Persian  Gulf,  from  whence,  as  we  shall  see  hereafter, ' 
the   religion   and  religious   ceremonies   of  pre- Semitic' 
Babylonia  had  once  spread.     The  gods  of  Eridu  were) 
water-gods,  and,  like  the  deities  of  Egypt,  had  each  hisi 
sacred  ship.     These  ships  occupied  an  important  placej 

in  the  Babylonian  ritual;  they  all  had  special  names,' 

. — . 

1  In  Layard's  Monuments  of  Nineveh,  pi.   65,   the  images  of  the1' 
gods  are  represented  as  standing  upon  platforms  (or  boats?)  which  ar< 
carried  on  men's  shoulders,  two  men  supporting  one  end  of  each  plat 
form  and  two  men  the  other. 


and  "were  the  visible  abodes  of  'the  "divinities  to  whom 
they  belonged.  Let  us  listen,  for  instance,  to  an  old 
hymn  that  was  recited  when  a  new  image  of  the  god 
was  made  in  honour  of  "the  ship  of  enthronement,"  the 
papaJch  or  "ark"  of  Merodach: 

"  Its  helm  is  of  cedar  (?)  wood  .... 

Its  serpent-like  oar  has  a  handle  of  gold. 

Its  mast  is  pointed  with  turquoise. 

Seven  times  seven  lions  of  the  field  (Eden)  occupy  its  deck. 

The  god  Adar  fills  its  cabin  built  within. 

Its  side  is  of  cedar  from  its  forest. 

Its  awning  is  the  palm  (?)  wood  of  Dilvun. 

Carrying  away  (its)  heart  is  the  canal. 

Making  glad  its  heart  is  the  sunrise. 

Its  house,  its  ascent,  is  a  mountain  that  gives  rest  to  the  heart. 

The  ship  of  Ea  is  Destiny. 

Nin-gal,  the  princess  (Dav-kina),  is  the  goddess  whose  word  is  life. 

Merodach  is  the  god  who  pronounces  the  good  name. 

The  goddess  who  benefits  the  house,  the  messenger  of  Ea  the 
ruler  of  the  earth,  even  Nan-gar  (the  lady  of  work),  the 
bright  one,  the  mighty  workwoman  of  heaven,  with  pure 
(and)  blissful  hand  has  uttered  the  word  of  life ; 

'  May  the  ship  before  thee  cross  the  canal ! 

May  the  ship  behind  thee  sail  over  its  mouth  ! 

Within  thee  may  the  heart  rejoicing  make  holiday  I'"1 

The  hymn  was  an  heirloom  from  Sumerian  Eridu.  It 
had  come  down  from  the  days  when  Merodach  was  not 
as  yet  the  god  of  Babylon,  but  was  the  son  of  Ea,  the 
water-god  of  Eridu.  It  is  written  in  Accadian,  and  no 
Semitic  translation  is  attached  to  it ;  it  is  even  possible 
that  some  of  the  expressions  used  in  the  hymn  had  ceased 
to  be  intelligible  to  the  priests  of  E-Saggil  who  recited 
it.2  At  all  events,  the  references  to  the  ship  of  the  deity 

?  2 

(S-wur)  in  the  northern  dialect  of  Accad,  has  nothing  to  do  with  the 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  25,  9—32. 

1          t       t  1  f*  * _1      4 */_•_!-     1*     A          

8  I  need  hardly  observe  that  the  Sumerian  word  Sgur,  "  side,"  * 


were  no  longer  applicable  in  the  Semitic  age  of  Babylon. 
The  md  or  "ship"  of  the  pre-Semitic  Sumerians  had 
then  become  the  papaklm  or  "  ark"  of  the  Semites ;  helm 
and  oar  and  mast  had  alike  disappeared,  and  it  was  no 
longer  required  to  sail  across  the  sacred  canals  of  the 
temples,  but  was  carried  on  the  shoulders  of  men. 

The  festivals  at  which  such  arks  were  borne  in  pro 
cession  were  naturally  numerous  in  a  country  where 
divinities  innumerable  were  adored.  The  festival  of 
ZAG-MU-KU,  mentioned  by  Nebuchadnezzar  as  having  been 
held  at  Babylon  at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  is  possibly 
the  Saksean  feast  of  the  classical  writers,  when  a  slave 
was  dressed  in  the  robes  of  a  king.1  The  service  at  the 
temple  of  Bel-Merodach  which  was  opened  by  the  hymn 
in  honour  of  his  ark,  was  accompanied  by  another  specially 
commemorating  the  festival  itself : 2 

"  The  day  the  (image  of  the)  god  has  been  made,  he  has  caused  the 
holy  festival3  to  be  fully  kept. 

Semitic  igaru,  "a  heap"  ("wall"),  though  the  scribes  of  Semitic  Baby 
lonia  afterwards  confounded  the  two  words  together. 

1  The  month,  however,  does  not  agree  in  the  case  of  the  two  feasts. 
Athenaeos  (Deipn.  xiv.)  says  :  "  Berossos  in  the  first  book  of  his  Baby 
lonian  History  states  that  in  the  llth  month,  called  Loos,  is  celebrated 
the  feast  of  Sak?ea,  for  five  days,  when  it  is  the  custom  that  the  masters 
should  obey  their  servants,  one  of  whom  is  led  round  the  house,  clad 
in  a  royal  robe,  and  called  Zoganes."  The  Zoganes  was  the  Accadian 
sagan,  borrowed  as  salcanu  by  Semitic  Babylonian  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  70,  40, 
ii.  51,  31),  probably  from  saga,  "head."  Sakkanakku,  "high-priest," 
is  a  derivative. 

«  W.  A.  I.  iv.  25,  39  sq. 

3  Azkaru,  "  commemoration-feast."  The  corresponding  Accadian  udu- 
sar  is  "a  day  of  commemoration ;"  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  23,  1,  far  alone  is 
rendered  isinnu,  " festival."  In  K 2107,  14,  it  is  translated  sipat,  "an" 
incantation"  or  hymn ;  hence  we  read  in  a  fragment  (R  528) :  "At  dawn 
(repeat)  a  hymn  in  the  presence  of  Merodach,  (then)  four  hymns  to  Ea 
the  holy  god  of  Eridu."  Then  follow  the  incantations  or  hymns. 


The  god  has  risen  among  all  lands. 

Lift  up  the  (nimbus  of)  glory,  adorn  thyself  with  heroism,  0  hero 

perfect  of  breast, 

bid  lustre  surround  this  image,  establish  veneration. 
The  lightning  flashes;  the  festival  appears  like  gold;1 
in  heaven  the  god  has  been  created,  on  earth  the  god  has  been 

created ! 

This  festival  has  been  created  among  the  hosts  of  heaven  and  earth. 
This  festival  lias  issued  forth  from  the  forest  of  the  cedar-trees. 
The  festival  is  the  creation  of  the  god,  the  work  of  mankind. 
Bid  the  festival  be  fully  kept  for  ever ; 
according  to  the  command  of  the  valiant  golden  god.2 
This  festival  is  a  sweet  savour  even  when  the  mouth  is  unopened, 
(a  pleasant  taste)  when  food  is  uneaten  and  water  un(drunk)." 

No  better  idea  can  be  formed  of  the  number  and  variety 
of  the  Babylonian  feasts  than  by  reading  a  hemerology 
of  the  intercalary  month  of  Ehil,  where  we  find  that 
every  day  is  dedicated  to  one  or  other  of  the  gods,  and 
certain  rites  and  ceremonies  prescribed  for  each.3  We 

1  In  the  Assyrian  translation,  "  brilliantly." 

2  Accadian :   "  Pronounce  for  ever  the  festival  completed,  through 
the  creative  message  of  the  valiant  golden  god;"  Assyrian  :  "In  per 
petuity  for  ever  cause  (the  festival)  to  be  complete,  by  the  command  of 
the  same  god  (who)  brought  (it)  about." 

3  With  this  hemerology  may  be  compared  the  following  liturgical 
fragment  (K3765): 

2.  On  the  9th  day  there  is  no  going  forth ;  to  the  sun  and  moon 

his  offerings  (ninddbuf)  he  makes. 

3.  On  the  10th  day  ....  there  is  no  going  forth  .... 

4.  On  the  llth  day  to  the  sun  and  moon  his  offerings  he  makes  j 

the  man  (is  pure)  as  the  Sun-god. 

5.  On  the  12th  day  to  the  sun  and  moon  his  offerings  he  makes ; 

an  eclipse  takes  place ;  there  is  harm  (boded  to  his)  house. 

6.  On  the  13th  day  to  the  moon  his  offerings  he  makes.     To  the 

moon  he  .  .  .  . ;  the  man  approaches  the  moon  in  prayer. 

7.  On  the  14th  day  to  the  sun  and  moon  he  does  not  present  his 

sin-offering  (mulcliibilti) ;  '  receive  my  prayer'  he  does  not  say% 
The  moon  and  the  sun  draw  near  to  Ami. 

70  LECTURE   I. 

learn  from  the  colophon  that  it  was  the  seventh  of  a 
series  of  tablets  which  must  have  furnished  the  Baby 
lonian  with  a  complete  "  saints'  calendar"  for  the  whole 
year.  So  careful  was  he  not  to  lose  an  opportunity  of 
keeping  holiday  in  honour  of  his  deities,  that  even  the 
intercalary  months,  which  were  rendered  necessary  from 
time  to  time  by  the  frequent  disorder  of  the  calendar, 
were  included  in  the  series.  Besides  the  festivals  of  the 
regular  Elul,  there  were  consequently  the  festivals  of  a 
second  Elul  whenever  the  priests  deemed  it  needful  to 
insert  one  in  the  calendar.  Hence,  as  the  regular  Elul 
was  the  sixth  month  of  the  year,  our  tablet  is  the  seventh 
of  the  series. 

"  The  month  of  the  second  Elul.  The  first  day  (is  dedicated)  to  Anu 
and  Bel.  A  day  of  good  luck.  When  during  the  month  the  moon  is 
seen,  the  shepherd  of  mighty  nations1  (shall  offer)  to  the  moon  as  a 
free-will  offering2  a  gazelle  without  blemish  ....  he  shall  make  his 
free-will  offering  to  the  Sun  the  mistress  of  the  world,  and  to  the  Moon 
the  supreme  god.3  He  offers  sacrifices.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand 
finds  favour  (magir)  with  the  god. 

The  second  day  (is  dedicated)  to  the  goddesses  [the  two  Istars].  A 
lucky  day.  The  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  the  Sun  the  mis 
tress  of  the  \vorld,  and  the  Moon  the  supreme  god.  Sacrifices  he  offers. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  he  presents  to  the  god. 

8.  On  the  15th  day  to  the  sun  and  the  moon  he  makes  his  offer 
ings.  The  sun  and  the  moon  behold  his  offerings.  His  sin- 
offering  he  does  not  present;  'receive  my  prayer'  he  does 
not  say.  On  this  day,  during  the  day  he  approaches  the  sun 
in  prayer.  There  is  no  going  forth.  On  this  day  his  wife  is 

1  This  title  refers  us  to  the  age  of  Kkammuragas  as  the  period  when 
the  work  was  composed. 

2  Nindalu,  Heb.  riedhdbMh.    The  Accadian  equivalent  is  "  the  dues 
of  the  goddess." 

3  The  fact  that  the  Sun  is  here  a  goddess  shows  that  the  hemerology 
lias  no  connection  with  Sippara.     It  may  have  originated  in  Ur. 


The  3rd  day  (is)  a  fast-day,1  (dedicated)  to  Merodach  and  Zarpanit 
A  lucky  day.  During  the  night,  in  the  presence  of  Merodach  and  Istar, 
the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering.  He  offers  sacrifices.  The  lifting 
up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  4th  day  (is)  the  feast-day2  of  !Nebo  (the  son  of  Merodach).  A 
lucky  day.  During  the  night,  in  the  presence  of  Nebo  and  Tasmit, 
the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering.  He  offers  sacrifices.  The  lifting 
up  of  his  hand  he  presents  to  the  god. 

The  5th  day  (is  dedicated)  to  the  Lord  of  the  lower  firmament  and 
the  Lady  of  the  lower  firmament.  A  lucky  day.  During  the  night, 
in  the  presence  of  Assur3  and  Mn-lil,  the  king  makes  his  free-will 
offering.  He  offers  sacrifices.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour 
with  the  god. 

The  6th  day  (is  dedicated)  to  Rimmon  and  Nin-lil.  A  lucky  dayt 
The  king  (repeats)  a  penitential  psalm  and  a  litany.  During  the  night, 
before  the  east  wind,  the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  Rimmon. 
He  offers  sacrifices.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  he  presents  to  the  god. 

The  7th  day  is  a  fast-day,  (dedicated)  to  Merodach  and  Zarpanit.  A 
lucky  day.  A  day  of  rest  (Sabbath).  The  shepherd  of  mighty  nations 
must  not  eat  flesh  cooked  at  the  fire  (or)  in  the  smoke.  His  clothes  ho 
must  not  change.  White  garments  he  must  not  put  on.  He  must  not 
offer  sacrifice.  The  king  must  not  drive  a  chariot.  He  must  not  issue 
royal  decrees.  In  a  secret  place  the  augur  must  not  mutter.  Medicine 
for  the  sickness  of  his  body  he  must  not  apply.4  For  making  a  curse  it 
is  not  fit.  During  the  night  the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  before 

1  Nulattu,  borrowed  from  the  Accadian  ?iu-bad,  "incomplete."    The 
Assyrian  equivalent  is  yum  idirtu,  "  day  of  mourning,"  W.  A.  I.  ii. 
32,  13.     The  third  of  the  month  Ab  was  the  nubat  of  Merodach,  ac 
cording  to  Assur-bani-pal. 

2  Yum  AB-AB.    AB-AB  is  stated  to  be  equivalent  to  epu  in  S  1720, 16, 
for  which  Zimmern's  signification  of  "  cooking  food"  is  probably  correct, 
since  the  next  line  of  the  tablet  speaks  of  "  the  house  of  the  dark  flesh 
of  Ea."     Sargon  laid  the  foundations  of  his  new  city  on  this  day  (ac 
cording  to  his  cylinder,  line  59). 

3  The  Assyrian  scribe  has  here  substituted  "Assur"  for  the  original 
Mul-lil  of  the  text. 

4  Literally,  "he  must  not  bring  medicine  to  his  disease  of  body;" 
see  Zeitschrift  fur  KeUscliriftforschung,  ii.  1,  pp.  2 — 4.    Lotz  translates, 
but  wrongly,  "  magus  segroto  maiium  suam  nc  applicato," 

72  LECTURE    I. 

Merodach  and  Istar.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand 
finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  8th  day  (is)  the  feast  of  ISTebo.  A  lucky  day.  During  the  night 
the  shepherd  of  mighty  nations  directs  his  hand  to  the  sacrifice  of  a 
sheep.  The  king  makes  his  vow  to  Nebo  and  Tasmit.  He  offers 
sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  he  presents  to  the  god. 

The  9th  day  (is  dedicated)  to  Adar  and  Gula.  A  lucky  day.  During 
the  night,  in  the  presence  of  Adar  and  Gula,  the  king  makes  his  free 
will  offering.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  he  pre 
sents  to  the  god. 

The  10th  day  (is  dedicated)  to  the  Mistress  of  the  lower  firmament  and 
the  divine  Judge.1  A  lucky  day.  During  the  night,  in  the  presence  of 
the  star  of  the  chariot  and  the  star  of  the  son  of  Istar,  the  king  makes 
his  free-will  offering.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand 
finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  llth  day  is  the  completion  of  the  meal-offering2  to  Tasmit  and 
Zarpanit.  A  lucky  day.  When  the  moon3  lifts  up  (its)  crown  of 
moonlight,  and  (its)  orb  rejoices,  the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering 
to  the  moon.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds 
favour  with  the  god. 

The  12th  day  is  the  gift-day  of  Bel  and  Beltis.  A  lucky  day.  The 
king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  Bel  and  Beltis.  He  offers  sacrifices. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  13th  day  (is  sacred)  to  the  Moon  the  supreme  god.  A  lucky 
day.  The  moon  lifts  up  (its)  crown  of  moonlight  towards  the  earth. 
On  this  day  assuredly  the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  the  Sun- 
god  the  mistress  of  the  world,  and  the  Moon  the  supreme  god.  He 
offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  14th  day  (is  sacred)  to  Beltis  and  Nergal.  A  lucky  day.  A 
Sabbath.  The  shepherd  of  mighty  nations  must  not  eat  flesh  cooked 
on  the  fire  (or)  in  the  smoke.  The  clothing  of  his  body  he  must  not 
change.  "White  garments  he  must  not  put  on.  He  must  not  offer 
sacrifice,  He  must  not  drive  a  chariot.  He  must  not  issue  royal 

1  The  divine  judges  were  twenty-four  stars  associated  with  the  Zodiac, 
twelve  being  north  and  twelve  south,  according  to  Diodoros  (ii.  30). 
See  W.  A.  I.  ii.  58,  17,  iii.  66,  1—9,  16,  22. 

2  Maniti,  Heb.  minkhdh.  There  was  another  word  manitu,  "a  couch" 
(W.  A.  I.  ii.  23,  57). 

8  Arkhu,  as  in  Hebrew,  one  of  the  few  instances  in  which  the  word 
i>  used  in  Assyrian. 


decrees.  (In)  a  secret  place  the  augur  must  riot  mutter.  Medicine  for 
the  sickness  of  his  body  he  must  not  apply.  For  making  a  curse  it  is 
not  fit.  In  the  night  the  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  Beltis 
and  Nergal.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds 
favour  with  the  god. 

The  15th  day  (is  sacred)  to  the  (Sun  the)  Lady  of  the  House  of 
Heaven.  (A  day  for)  making  the  stated  offering1  to  Sin  the  supreme 
god.  A  lucky  day.  The  king  makes  his  free-will  offering  to  Sam  as 
the  mistress  of  the  world,  and  Sin  the  supreme  god.  He  offers  sacrifice. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hands  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  16th  day  (is)  a  fast-day  to  Merodach  and  Zarpanit.  A  lucky 
day.  The  king  must  not  repeat  a  penitential  psalm.  In  the  night, 
before  Merodach  and  Istar,2  the  king  presents  his  free-will  offering. 
He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hands  finds  favour  with  the 

The  17th  day  (is)  the  feast-day  of  Nebo  and  Tasmit.  A  lucky  day. 
In  the  night,  before  Nebo  and  Tasmit,  the  king  presents  his  free-will 
offering.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hands  finds  favour 
with  the  god. 

The  18th  day  (is)  the  festival  (i&nnu)  of  Sin  and  Samas.  A  lucky 
clay.  The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Samas  the  mistress  of 
the  world,  and  Sin  the  supreme  god.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting 
up  of  his  hands  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  19th  day  (is)  the  white3  day  of  the  great  goddess  Gula.  A 
lucky  day.  A  Sabbath.  The  shephed  of  mighty  nations  must  not  eat 
that  what  is  cooked  at  the  fire,  must  not  change  the  clothing  of  his 
body,  must  not  put  on  white  garments,  must  not  offer  sacrifice.  The 
king  must  not  drive  (his)  chariot,  must  not  issue  royal  decrees.  The 
augur  must  not  mutter  (in)  a  secret  place.  Medicine  must  not  be 
applied  to  the  sickness  of  the  body.  For  making  a  curse  (the  day)  is 

1  NikaJu,  W.  A.  I.  v.  11,  4,  as  corrected.     Here  the  Accadian  and 
Sumerian  equivalents  are  given  of  the  Semitic  nindabu,  "  a  free-will 
offering"  (nddab),  taklimu,  "offering  of  shewbread,"  kistu,  "a  tribu 
tary  offering,"  and  nikas'u,  "a  stated  offering"  or  "korban"  (Ass.  kir- 
bannu),  nindabu  and  taklimu  being  alike  translations  of  the  Accado- 
Sumerian  "  dues  of  the  goddess." 

2  Istar  is  here  identified  with  Zarpanit. 

8  Ippu,  which  like  its  synonym  ellu  (Heb.  hdlal,  comp.  Mlulim, 
Lev.  xix.  24),  has  the  secondary  meaning  of  "holy."  Compare  tho 
Latin  "  dies  candidus." 

74'  LECTURE    I. 

not  suitable.  The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Arlar  and 
Gula.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hands  finds  favour 
with  the  god. 

The  20th  day  (is)  a  day  of  light,1  the  gift-day  of  Sin  and  Samas. 
A  lucky  day.  The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Samas  the 
mistress  of  the  world,  and  Sin  the  supreme  god.  He  offers  sacrifice. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  21st  day  (is  the  day  for)  making  the  stated  offering  to  Sin  and 
Samas.  A  lucky  day.  A  Sabbath.  The  shepherd  of  mighty  nations 
must  not  eat  flesh  cooked  at  the  fire  or  in  the  smoke,  must  not  change 
the  clothing  of  his  body,  must  not  put  on  white  garments,  must  not 
offer  sacrifice.  The  king  must  not  drive  (his)  chariot,  must  not  issue 
royal  decrees.  The  augur  must  not  mutter  (in)  a  secret  place.  Medi 
cine  must  not  be  applied  to  the  sickness  of  the  body.  For  making  a 
curse  (the  day)  is  not  suitable.  At  dawn  the  king  presents  his  free 
will  offering  to  Samas  the  mistress  of  the  world,  and  Sin  the  supreme 
god.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with 
the  god. 

The  22nd  day  (is  the  day  for)  making  the  stated  offering  to  (Sin  and) 
Samas.  (It  is)  the  festival  of  the  (Sun  the)  mistress  of  the  Palace. 
A  lucky  day.  The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Samas  the 
mistress  of  the  world,  and  (Sin  the  supreme  god).  He  offers  sacrifice. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  23rd  day  (is)  the  festival  of  Samas  and  Eimmon.  A  lucky  day. 
The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Samas  and  Rimmon.  Ho 
offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  24th  day  (is)  the  festival  of  the  Lord  of  the  Palace  and  the 
Mistress  of  the  Palace.  A  lucky  day.  The  king  presents  his  free-will 
offering  to  the  Lord  of  the  Palace  and  the  Mistress  of  the  Palace.  Pie 
offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the 

The  25th  day  (is)  the  processional  day2  of  Bel  and  Beltis  of  Babylon. 
A  lucky  day.  In  the  night  the  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to 
Bel  before  the  star  of  the  Foundation,  and  to  Beltis  of  Babylon  before 
the  star  of  the  Chariot.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his 
hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  26th  day  (is  the  day)  of  the  establishment  of  the  enclosing  wall 

2  Probably  the  ideographic  mode  of  representing  ippti. 
8  Sadhakhu,  literally  "  marching." 


of  Ea  the  supreme  god.  A  lucky  day.1  The  king  must  repeat  (?)  a 
penitential  psalm  whatever  (?)  he  may  present.  That  day  at  nightfall 
he  makes  a  free-will  offering  to  Ea  the  supreme  god.  He  offers  sacri 
fice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  27th  day  (is  the  day)  of  the  chase2  of  jSergal  (and)  the  festival 
of  Zikum.  A  lucky  day.  The  king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to 
Nergal  and  Zikum.  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand 
finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  28th  day  (is  sacred)  to  Ea.  (It  is)  the  day  of  the  resting  of 
Nergal.  A  lucky  day.  A  Sabbath.  The  shepherd  of  great  nations 
must  not  eat  flesh  cooked  at  the  fire  or  in  the  smoke,  must  not  change 
the  clothing  of  his  body,  must  not  put  on  white  garments,  must  not  offer 
sacrifice.  The  king  must  not  drive  a  chariot.  He  must  not  issue  royal 
decrees.  (In)  a  secret  place  the  augur  must  not  mutter.  Medicine  for 
the  sickness  of  the  body  must  not  be  applied.  For  making  a  curse  (the 
day)  is  not  suitable.  To  Ea  the  supreme  god  (the  king)  presents  (his 
i  free-will  offering).  He  offers  sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds 
favour  with  the  god. 

The  29th  day  (is)  the  day  of  the  resting  of  the  Moon-god.  The  day 
when  the  spirits  of  heaven  and  earth  are  adored.  A  lucky  day.  The 
king  presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Sin  the  supreme  god.  He  offers 
sacrifice.  The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  30th  day  (is  sacred)  to  Anu  and  Bel.  A  lucky  day.  The  king 
presents  his  free-will  offering  to  Anu  and  Bel.  He  offers  sacrifice. 
The  lifting  up  of  his  hand  finds  favour  with  the  god. 

The  2nd  month  of  EM  from  the  1st  to  the  30th  day,  if  the  king 
restores  either  his  god  or  his  goddess  or  his  gods  who  have  been  expel 
led,  that  king  has  the  divine  colossus  as  his  god. 

In  the  second  Elul  the  king  of  the  country  gives  a  name  to  the  temple 
of  the  god.  Whether  he  builds  a  shrine  (or) ....  his  heart  is  not  good. 

1  Nadu  amari  (SUB  E-MUK,  like  ingar,  Ass.  igaru,  "an  enclosing 
wall,"  W.  A.  I.  ii.  15,  36). 

2  Me-lul-ti,  "park"  or  "chase;"  see  W.  A.  I.  i.  7,  B2;  82.  8—16, 
1,  Rev.  6,  where  esemen  is  the  Accadian,  and  melulti  sa  Istari  the 
Assyrian,  equivalent  of  KI-E-NE-DI-INNANA  ;  S  704,  21  ("they  enclosed 
he  place  of  melulti")]  K161,  Rev.  iii.  7,  where  melulti  is  in  paral- 
elism  with  tarlatsi,  "stall,"  snlmri,  "cote,"  sulmlli,  "stable,"  sigari, 
'cage,"  irriri,  "lair,"  and  irsi,  "bed;"  S  526.  23,  25  ("the  place  of 

the  melulti  i\\Q\\  dost  not  plant,  thou  dost  not  cause  the  little  ones  to 
no  out  of  the  place  of  the  melulti "). 

76  LECTURE    I. 

In  the  second  Elul  the  king  restores  the  sacrifice  (makhru). 

[Beginning  of  the  next  tablet  of  the  series] : — The  month  Tisri  (is 
sacred)  to  Samas  the  warrior  of  mankind.  (These  are)  the  command 
ments  of  Bel-khummu  (the  priest)  on  the  first  day  (sacred)  to  Anu  and 

[COLOPHON.] — The  8th  tablet  (of  the  series  beginning)  'The  Moon 
the  lord  of  the  month.'  The  possession  of  Assur-bani-pal,  the  king  of 
multitudes,  the  king  of  Assyria." 

One  of  the  most  interesting  facts  that  result  from  this 
hemerology  is,  that  the  Sabbath  was  known  to  the  Baby 
lonians  and  Assyrians.  Its  institution  must  have  gone 
back  to  the  Accadian  epoch,  since  the  term  used  to  repre 
sent  it  in  the  text  is  the  Accadian  udu  khulgal,  "an 
unlawful  day,"  like  the  Latin  "  dies  nefastus,"  which  is 
rendered  by  sulum,  or  "  rest-day,"  in  Assyrian.1  Semitic 
Babylonian,  however,  possessed  the  term  Sabbath  as 
well,  and  a  vocabulary  explains  it  as  being  "a  day  of 
rest  for  the  heart."2  Like  the  Hebrew  Sabbath,  it  was 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  56,  53. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii,  32, 16,  yum  nukli  libU  =  sdbattuv.    In  the  new  edition 
of  the  Encydoptzdia  Britannica,  the  reading  sabattuv  in  this  passage  is 
called  a  "textual  emendation"  made  by  Delitzsch.     This,  however,  is 
a  mistake.     It  is  the  reading  of  the  original  tablet,  and  the  published  ' 
text  was  corrected  by  myself  long  before  Delitzsch  re-examined  the 
original.     The  Encyclopedia  Britannica  makes  another  strange  state 
ment  in  describing  the  Hebrew  Sabbath  as  a  day  "of  feasting  and 
good  cheer."    It  was,  on  the  contrary,  a  day  of  rest  (Gen.  ii.  2,  3  ;  Ex. , 
xx.  10),  "the  holy  day"  on  which  the  Jew  was  forbidden  to  do  his 
own  pleasure — "not  doing  thine  own  ways,  nor  finding  thine  own 
pleasure,  nor  speaking  thine  own  words"  (Is.  Iviii.  13) — in  exact  con 
formity  with  the  regulations  of  the  Babylonian  Sabbath.    The  compiler 
of  the  text  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  32)  in  which  sabattuv  is  explained  as  "a  day 
of  rest  of  the  heart,"  evidently  regarded  the  word  as  derived  from  the 
Accadian  sa-bat,  "  heart-resting,"  and  he  certainly  had  in  support  of 
his  view  the  similar  term  nubattu,  from  the  Accadian  nu-bat.     The 
Assyrian  verb  sabatu  is  given  as  a  synonym  of  gamaru,  "  to  complete," 
in  W.A.I,  v.  28,  14. 


observed  every  seventh  day,  and  was  obviously  connected 
with  the  seventh-day  periods  of  the  moon. 

But  there  were  two  respects  in  which  it  differed  from 
the  Hebrew  institution.  Among  the  Israelites,  "the 
Sabbaths"  and  "the  new  moons"  were  separate  from 
one  another ;  among  the  Babylonians,  they  coincided  in 
so  far  as  the  Sabbath  fell  on  the  first  day  of  the  lunar 
month.  Consequently,  since  the  month  consisted  of  thirty 
days,  the  last  week  contained  nine  days.  In  the  second 
place,  the  19th  of  the  intercalary  Elul  was  also  a  Sabbath. 
"Why  it  should  have  been  so  I  cannot  pretend  to  say. 

Besides  the  stated  festivals  and  Sabbaths,  extraordinary 
days  of  thanksgiving  or  humiliation  were  ordained  from 
time  to  time.  In  the  closing  years  of  the  Assyrian 
empire,  when  her  foes  were  gathering  around  her,  the 
last  king,  Esarhaddon  II.,  prayed  to  the  Sun-god  that 
he  would  "remove  the  sin"  of  his  people,  and  ordered 
the  Mai,  or  "  prophet,"  to  prescribe  "  the  legal  solemnities 
(mesari  isinni)  for  a  hundred  days  and  a  hundred  nights," 
from  the  3rd  of  lyyar  to  the  15th  of  Ab.1  So,  too, 
Assur-bani-pal  tells  us,  that  after  suppressing  the  revolt 
in  Babylonia  and  removing  the  corpses  that  had  choked 
the  streets  of  the  Babylonian  cities,  "  by  the  command 
of  the  augurs  (isipputi)"  he  "purified  their  shrines  and 
cleansed  their  chief  places  of  prayer.  Their  angry  gods 
and  wrathful  goddesses  he  soothed  with  supplications 
and  penitential  psalms.  He  restored  and  established  in 
peace  their  daily  sacrifices,  which  they  had  discontinued, 
as  they  had  been  in  former  days."2 

The  sacrifices  and  offerings  of  the  Babylonians  and 

1  K  4668,  2,  3.  s  W.  A.  I.  v.  4,  86  sq. 

78  LECTURE   T. 

Assyrians  closely  resembled  those  of  the  Israelites.  Like 
the  latter,  they  were  divided  into  sacrifices  of  animals, 
such  as  oxen,  sheep  or  gazelles,  and  offerings  of  meal 
and  wine.  Wine  was  poured  over  the  victim  or  the  altar. 
When  the  effeminate  Assur-bani-pal  had  slaughtered  a 
battue  of  caged  lions,  he  "  set  up  over  them  the  mighty 
bow  of  Istar,  the  lady  of  war,  presented  offerings  over 
them,  and  made  a  sacrifice  of  wine  over  them."1  An 
old  magical  text  prays  that  "  the  sick  man  may  be 
purified  by  sacrifices  of  mercy  and  peace,"  or  "  peace- 
offerings,"  as  the  translators  of  our  Bible  would  have 
expressed  it,2  But  although  the  Assyrian  kings  are 
fond  of  boasting  of  their  exploits  in  massacreing  or  tor 
turing  their  defeated  enemies  in  honour  of  Assur,  we 
find  no  allusions  in  the  inscriptions  of  the  historical 
period  to  human  sacrifice.  That  human  sacrifices,  how 
ever,  were  known  as  far  back  as  the  Accadian  era,  is 
shown  by  a  bilingual  text  (K5139)  which  enjoins  the 
tibgal,  or  "  chief  prophet,"  to  declare  that  the  father  must 
give  the  life  of  his  child  for  the  sin  of  his  own  soul,  the 
child's  head  for  his  head,  the  child's  neck  for  his  neck, 
the  child's  breast  for  his  breast.  The  text  not  only 
proves  that  the  idea  of  vicarious  punishment  was  already 
conceived  of ;  it  also  proves  that  the  sacrifice  of  children 
was  a  Babylonian  institution.  In  the  great  work  on 
astronomy  called  "The  Observations  of  Bel,"3  we  are 
told  that  "on  the  high-places  the  son  is  burnt."4  The 
offering  was  consequently  by  fire,  as  in  Phoenicia. 

1  W.  A.  I.  i.  7.  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  18.  53,  54. 

3  W.A.I.  iii.  60,  162. 

4  Arur,  connected  with  arurti,  "  the  lightning,"  an  epithet  of  Rim. 
mon.     Delitzsch  renders  it  "  earthquake,"  in  curione  disregard  of  the 


The  sacrifices  were  accompanied,  sometimes  by  hymns 
or  incantations,  sometimes  by  prayers.  The  prayers 
were  all  prescribed,  and  a  large  number  of  them  have 
been  preserved.  Here  are  some  examples  of  them : l 


"At  dawn  and  in  the  night  (the  worshipper)  shall  bow  down  (ikam- 
mis)  before  the  Throne-bearer  and  shall  speak  as  follows  :  '  0  Throne- 
bearer,  giver  of  prosperity,  a  prayer !'  After  that  he  shall  bow  down 
to  Nusku  and  shall  speak  thus  :  *  0  Nusku,  prince  and  king  of  the 
secrets  of  the  great  gods,  a  prayer  !'  After  that  he  shall  bow  down  to 
Adar  and  shall  speak  thus  :  *  0  Adar,  mighty  lord  of  the  deep  places 
of  the  wells,  a  prayer !'  After  that  he  shall  bow  down  to  Gula  and 
shall  speak  thus  :  { 0  Gula,  mother,  begetter  of  the  black-headed  race, 
a  prayer!'  After  that  he  shall  bow  down  to  Nin-lil  and  shall  speak 
thus  :  *  0  Nin-lil,  mighty  goddess,  wife  of  the  divine  Prince  of  Sove 
reignty,  a  prayer  !'  After  that  he  shall  bow  down  to  Mul-lil  and  shall 
speak  thus  :  ;  0  lord  exalted,  establisher  of  law,2  a  prayer  !'  For  three 
days  at  dawn  and  at  night,  with  face  and  mouth  uplifted,  during  the 
middle  watch,  the  diviner  (a sip)  shall  pour  out  libations." 

The  best  idea,  however,  of  what  a  Babylonian  religious 
service  was  like,  may  be  gathered  from  the  instructions 
given  to  the  priest  who  watched  in  the  temple  of  Bel- 
Merodach  at  Babylon  on  the  night  of  the  first  day  of  the 
new  year.3  Part  of  his  duty  was  to  repeat  a  hymn,  the 
first  fourteen  lines  of  which  were  alternately  in  Accadian 
and  Semitic.  Curiously  enough,  however,  there  was  nc 

character  both  of  Rimmon  and  of  the  plain  of  Babylonia.  The  word 
corresponds  with  the  Heb.  khdrar.  M.  Menant  has  pointed  out  several 
instances  in  which  a  human  sacrifice  is  represented  on  early  Babylonian 
cylinders  (Catalogue  de  la  Collection  de  Clercq,  i.  pp.  18,  112  sq. 
In  pi.  xix.  No.  181,  is  a  ruder  copy  of  a  scene  of  human  sacrifice 
depicted  on  an  early  Babylonian  cylinder  procured  by  Dr.  Max  Olme- 
falsch-Richter  in  Cyprus). 

1  W.A.I,  iv.  61,  19  sq. 

2  Literally,  "secret  wisdom"  (82.  8—16,  1,  Olv.   23),  with  which 
Belitzsch  compares  the  Heb.  tJiordh. 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  46,  47.     The  published  text  is  very  incorrect. 



connection  between  the  Accadian  and  the  Semitic  verses ; 
while  the  Semitic  lines  were  addressed  to  Bel-Merodach 
of  Babylon  and  Borsippa,  the  Accadian  portion  had  to 
do  with  "a  god  of  the  sanctuary,"  whose  only  resemblance 
to  Bel  was  that  he  is  entitled  "  the  lord  of  the  world." 
The  Accadian  verses  are  thus  evidently  a  heirloom  from 
a  distant  past,  possibly  from  the  pre- Semi  tic  days  of 
Babylon  itself,  and  it  is  more  than  probable  that  the 
meaning  was  but  little  understood  by  the  Semitic  priests. 
This  is  how  the  text  begins : 

"In  the  month  Nisan,  on  the  second  day1  and  the  first  hour  (kasbu) 
of  the  night,  the  priest2  must  go  and  take  the  waters  of  the  river  in 
his  hand ;  he  must  enter  into  the  presence  of  Bel,  and,  putting  on  a 
robe  in  the  presence  of  Bel,  shall  address  to  Bel  this  hymn  :3 
'  0  Bel,  who  in  his  strength  has  no  rival, 
O  Bel,  king  of  blessedness,  Bel  (the  lord)  of  the  world,4 
Seeking  after  the  favour  of  the  great  gods, 
Bel,  who  in  his  glance  has  destroyed  the  strong,5 
Bel  (the  lord)  of  kings,  light  of  mankind,  establisher  of  trust  ;6 
O  Bel,  thy  sceptre  is  Babylon,  Borsippa  is  thy  crown  ! 
The  wide  heaven  is  the  habitation  of  thy  liver ! 
O  lord,  thine  is  the  revelation,  (and)  the  interpretations  of  visions ; 
0  father  (1)  of  lords,  thee  they  behold  the  father  of  lords ; 

1  It  must  bo  remembered  that  the  Babylonians,   like  the  Jews, 
reckoned  the  day  from  evening  to  evening. 

2  The  Accadian  title  Uru-gal,  "  the  chief  watcher,"  is  used.     The 
title  perhaps  had  reference  to  the  nightly  watch  kept  in  the  sanctuary 
of  Merodach  in  the  tower  of  E-Saggil. 

8  I  omit  the  Accadian  lines  of  the  hymn,  as  I  am  unable  to  translate 
them  fully. 

4  The  preceding  Accadian  line  is  :  "0  lord  of  the  blessed  sanctuary, 
lord  of  the  world!" 

5  The  preceding  Accadian  line  reads :  "  What  is  the  lord  (doing) 
now  ?  the  lord  is  resting." 

6  The  preceding  Accadian  line  has :  "  The  god  of  the  sanctuary  of 
mankind,  the  god  who  holds  the  sanctuary  of  man." 


tliine  is  the  glance,  (and)  the  seeing  of  wisdom  ;l 

they  magnify  (?)  thee,  0  master  of  the  strong ; 

they  adore  (?)  thee,  0  king  (and)  mighty  prince ; 

they  look  up  to  thee,  show  unto  them  mercy ; 

cause  them  to  behold  the  light  that  they  may  tell  of  thy  righteous 

O  Bel  (lord)  of  the  world,  light  of  the  spirits  of  heaven,  utterer  of 

who  is  there  whose  mouth  murmurs  not  of  thy  righteousness 

or  speaks  not  of  thine  exaltation  and  celebrates  not  thy  glory  ? 

O  Bel  (lord)  of  the  world,  who  dwellest  in  the  temple  of  the  Sun, 
reject  not  the  hands  that  are  raised  to  thee ; 

Show  mercy  to  thy  city  Babylon, 

to  E-Saggil  thy  temple  incline  thy  face, 

grant  the  prayers  of  thy  people  the  sons  of  Babylon  !"'2 

1  Or  "law;"  zimat  urtuv,  for  which  see  W.A.I,  v.  28,  92,  and 
iv.  15,  48  (where  urta  is  the  Accadian  amma,  which  is  terit  in  iv. 
28,  23). 

2  With  this  text  must  be  compared  another  (unmarked  at  the  time 
I  copied  it),  which  is  interesting  as  referring  to  the  oracle  established 
within  the  "shrine"  or  "holy  of  holies"  (parak)  of  the  temple  of  Bel : 
"  (4)  Like  Bel  in  the  shrine  of  the  destinies  the  prophecy  shall  be 
uttered  (ittaspu),  this  shall  be  said  :  (5)  '  Bel  has  come  forth ;  the  king 
has  looked  for  me  (yuqaa)  ;  (6)  our  lady  (lilit-ni)  has  come  forth  ;  tho 
king  has  looked  for  thee ;  (7)  the  lord  of  Babylon  has  issued  forth; 
the  whole  (gamli)  of  the  world  is  on  his  face.     (8)  Zarpanit  the  prin 
cess  has  issued  forth ;  his  mouth  has  gone  to  meet  her  (?)  (illalm  sana 
pi-su).      (9)   Tasmit  has  issued  forth ;   he  has  gone  to  meet  her  (1). 
(10)  Place  the  herbs  in  the  hands  of  the  goddess  of  Babylon;  (11) 

0  aSsinnu  (eunuch-priest)  [place]  the  flute  (GI-BU),  0  seed-planter  [place] 
the  seed;   (12)  purify  me  (dle-a\  purify  me,  and  (13)  fill  Babylon 
with  pure  splendour,  O  Nin-lil,  when  thou  pardonest  the  world  (kullat 
tamtsiy     (14)  0  Bel  who  (art)  in  the  shrine,  surrounded  by  the  river 
(sikhir  naliri),  (this)  shall  be  said  :  (15)  '0  Mul-lil  my  lord  (ama)  in 
Nipur  I  saw  thee  ;  (16)  0  my  shepherd  when  I  saw  thee  in  the  temple 
of  Sin  the  first-born,  (17)  I ...  thy  foot  and  .     .  thy  hand.'"     Tho 
first  three  lines,  which  are  mutilated,  run  as  follows  :  "  (1)  .  .  .  king 
of  the  aMinnu  listen ;  (2) ...  in  the  house  of  the  supreme  chief  («&. 
maJih)  I  saw  you  my  lord  (amur-lcunu  ama).    (3)  ...  he  is  bright  and 

1  saw  thee." 


82  LECTURE   I. 

Various  special  dresses  were  worn  during  the  perform 
ance  of  the  religious  ceremonies,  and  ablutions  in  pure 
water  were  strongly  insisted  on.  Seven,  too,  was  a  sacred 
number,  whose  magic  virtues  had  descended  to  the 
Semites  from  their  Accadian  predecessors.  When  the 
Chaldsean  Noah  escaped  from  the  Deluge,  his  first  act 
was  to  build  an  altar  and  to  set  vessels,  each  containing 
the  third  of  an  ephah,  by  sevens,  over  a  bed  of  reeds, 
pine-wood  and  thorns.  Seven  by  seven  had  the  magic 
knots  to  be  tied  by  the  witch,1  seven  times  had  the  body 
of  the  sick  man  to  be  anointed  with  the  purifying  oil.2 
As  the  Sabbath  of  rest  fell  on  each  seventh  day  of  the 
week,  so  the  planets,  like  the  demon  messengers  of  Anu, 
were  seven  in  number,  and  "the  god  of  the  number 
seven"  received  peculiar  honour. 

Along  with  this  superstitious  reverence  for  the  sacred 
number,  went  a  distinction  of  the  animal  world  into  clean 
and  unclean,  or  rather  into  food  that  it  was  lawful  and 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  3.  5,  6. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  26,  49.    The  deluge  was  said  to  have  lasted  seven  days; 
three  groups  of  stars — the  tikpi  or  " circles "(?),  the  masi  or  "double 
stars,"  and  the  lu-masi  or  "  sheep  of  the  hero,"  were  each  seven  in 
number ;  the  gates  which  led  to  Hades  were  also  seven ;  Erech  is  called 
the  city  of  "the  seven  zones"  or  "stones"  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  50,  55 — 57); 
and,  as  Lotz  reminds  us,  seven  fish-like  men  ascended  out  of  the  Persian 
Gulf,  according  to  Berossus,  in  order  to  teach  the  antediluvian  Baby 
lonians  the  arts  of  life.     Similarly  we  read  the  following  prayer  in 
M  1246,  5 — 12.    "Incantation. — 0  strong  (goddess),  the  violent  (sam- 
raid),  the  furious  of  breast  (nadrata  irta),  -the  powerful,  thou  beholdest 
(paqata)  the  hostility  of  the  enemy ;  who  that  is  not  Ea  has  quieted 
(thee)  (sa  la  Ea  mannu  yunakh)  1  who  that  is  not  Merodach  has  paci 
fied  (thee)  ?     May  Ea  quiet  (thee),  may  Merodach  pacify  thee  !     (Con 
clusion  of)  the  spell.    Incantation. — Make  this  prayer  seven  times  over   j 
the  thread  (napsiti] ;  stretch  (it)  around  his  name  (ema  sum-su),  and   | 
live  (DIL-ES)."     In  0  535,  10,  14,  PIL-ES  is  interpreted  bulludh. 


unlawful  to  eat.  The  distinction  may  have  gone  back 
to  an  age  of  totemism;  at  all  events,  it  prevailed  as 
extensively  among  the  Babylonians  and  Assyrians  as  it 
did  among  the  adherents  of  the  Mosaic  Law.  In  one  of 
the  penitential  Psalms,  the  author  expresses  his  contrition 
for  having  " eaten  the  forbidden  thing;"  and  if  Jensen 
is  right  in  seeing  the  wild  boar  in  the  saJchu  of  the  texts, 
its  flesh  was  not  allowed  to  be  eaten  on  the  30th  of  the 
month  Ab,  nor,  like  that  of  the  ox,  on  the  27th  of 
Marchesvan.1  The  very  mention  of  the  Jchumzir,  or 
domestic  pig,  is  avoided  in  the  Semitic  Babylonian  and 
Assyrian  inscriptions,  and  reptiles  were  accounted  as 
unclean  as  they  were  among  the  Jews.2  It  is  true  that 
there  are  indications  that  human  flesh  had  once  been 
consumed  in  honour  of  the  spirits  of  the  earth,  as  Prof. 
Maspero  has  lately  shown  must  also  have  been  the  case 
in  pre-historic  Egypt,  and  a  bilingual  hymn  still  speaks 
of  "eating  the  front  breast  of  a  man;"3  but  such  bar- 

1  "Das  "Wildschwein  in  den  assyrisch-babylonischen  Inschriften," 
Zeitsclirift  filr  Assyriologie,  i.  3,  pp.  306  sq.     I  may  add  here  that 
circumcision  was  known  to  the  Babylonians  as  it  was  to  the  Jews.     In 
a  magical  text  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  17,  63)  it  was  termed  arlu,  the  Heb.  drel, 
which  is  used  in  Hebrew  and  Arabic  in  a  precisely  opposite  sense ;  but 
the  ideographic  equivalents  of  the  Babylonian  word  ("  the  shaping  of 
the  phallus")  show  what  its  signification  in  Assyrian  must  be. 

2  K  (unnumbered),  20. 

3  K4609.     So  in  S477.  ii.  5,  "the  flesh  of  a  man"  is  mentioned 
along  with  "the  flesh  of  the  gazelle,"  "the  flesh  of  the  dog,"  "the 
flesh  of  the  wild  boar,"  "the  flesh  of  the  ass,"  "  the  flesh  of  the  horse," 
and  "the  flesh  of  the  wild  ass,"' and  "  the  flesh  of  the  dragon"  (Usbis), 
all  of  which  it  was  unlawful  to  eat.     In  S  1720,  17,  mention  is  made 
of  "  the  house  of  the  dark  (DIR)  flesh  of  Ea,"  where  the  idea  may  be 
similar  to  that  of  the  Egyptian  texts  in  which  the  ka  or  "double"  of 
the  dead  is  described  as  feasting  on  the  gods.    Cp.  also  an  unnumbered 
tablet  containing  a  hymn  to  the  god  Tutu  :  sagata  ina  samami  ina  ma- 


84  LECTURE   I. 

barons  practices  were  but  dimly -remembered  reminis 
cences  of  a  barbarous  past,  and  were  never  shared  in  by 
the  Semites.  It  is  equally  true  that  medicine  laid  con 
tributions  on  the  most  unclean  articles  of  food,  including 
snakes,  the  tongues  of  "black  dogs"  and  even  ordure; 
but  those  who  swallowed  the  compounds  prescribed  by 
the  medical  faculty  wore  those  who  had  already  lost 
their  faith  in  the  old  beliefs  of  the  people,  and  had 
substituted  the  recipe  of  the  doctor  for  the  spells  of  the 
exorcist  and  the  ritual  of  the  priest.  The  practice  of 
medicine  has  often  been  accused  of  antagonism  to  reli 
gion  ;  whatever  may  be  the  case  in  these  modern  days, 
the  theology  of  ancient  Babylonia  harmonised  but  badly 
with  the  prescriptions  of  its  medical  school.1 

tati  nisi  tabarri  surbata-ma  \ina\  irtsitiv  siru  KHAR-MES-^MWM  \tci\barri 
siru  dukhdhu  tabarri  atta,  "  Thou  art  exalted  in  heaven ;  in  the  world 
thou  feedest  on  mankind ;  thou  art  princely  in  the  earth,  the  flesh  of 
their  hearts  thou  eatest,  the  flesh  in  abundance  thou  eatest." 

1  See  my  articles  on  "An  Ancient  Babylonian  "Work  on  Medicine" 
in  the  Zeitschrifl  fur  Keihchriftforscliung,  ii,  1,  3. 


IN  an  inscription  upon  a  clay  cylinder  brought  from 
Babylonia  seven  years  ago,  Cyrus  is  made  to  declare  that 
the  overthrow  of  Nabonidos,  the  last  independent  Baby 
lonian  monarch,  was  due  to  the  anger  of  Bel  and  the 
other  gods.  Nabonidos  had  removed  their  images  from 
their  ancient  sanctuaries,  and  had  collected  them  together 
in  the  midst  of  Babylon.  The  priests  maintained  that 
the  deed  had  aroused  the  indignation  of  Merodach,  "the 
lord  of  the  gods,"  who  had  accordingly  rejected  Naboni- 
dos,  even  as  Saul  was  rejected  from  being  king  of  Israel, 
and  had  sought  for  a  ruler  after  his  own  heart.  It  was 
"in  wrath"  that  the  deities  had  "left  their  shrines  when 
Nabonidos  brought  them  into  Babylon,"  and  had  prayed 
Merodach,  the  divine  patron  of  the  imperial  city,  to  "go 
round  unto  all  men  wherever  might  be  their  seats." 
Merodach  sympathised  with  their  wrongs ;  "he  visited 
the  men  of  Sumer  and  Accad  whom  he  had  sworn  should 
be  his  attendants,"  and  "all  lands  beheld  his  friend." 
He  chose  Cyrus,  king  of  Elam,  and  destined  him  by 
name  for  the  sovereignty  of  Chalda3a.  Cyrus,  whom 
the  Hebrew  prophet  had  already  hailed  as  the  Lord's 
Anointed,  was  thus  equally  the  favourite  of  the  supreme 
Babylonian  god.  "  Merodach,  the  great  lord,  the  restorer 

86  LECTURE   II. 

of  his  people,"  we  are  told,  "  beheld  with  joy  the  deeds 
of  his  vicegerent  who  was  righteous  in  hand  and  heart. 
To  his  city  of  Babylon  he  summoned  his  march,  and  he 
bade  him  take  the  road  to  Babylon ;  like  a  friend  and  a 
comrade  he  went  at  his  side."  A  single  battle  decided 
the  conflict:  the  Babylonians  opened  their  gates,  and 
"  without  fighting  or  battle,"  Cyrus  was  led  in  triumph 
into  the  city  of  Babylon.  His  first  care  was  to  show  his 
gratitude  towards  the  deities  who  had  so  signally  aided 
him.  Their  temples  were  rebuilt,  and  they  themselves 
were  restored  to  their  ancient  seats. 

"With  all  the  allowance  that  must  be  made  for  the 
flattery  exacted  by  a  successful  conqueror,  we  must  con 
fess  that  this  is  a  very  remarkable  document.  It  is 
written  in  the  Babylonian  language  and  in  the  Baby 
lonian  form  of  the  cuneiform  syllabary,  and  we  may 
therefore  infer  that  it  was  compiled  by  Babylonian  scribes 
and  intended  for  the  perusal  of  Babylonian  readers.  Yet 
we  find  the  foreign  conqueror  described  as  the  favourite 
of  the  national  god,  while  the  last  native  king  is  held  up 
to  reprobation  as  the  dishonourer  of  the  gods.  It  is  im 
possible  not  to  compare  the  similar  treatment  experienced 
by  Nebuchadnezzar  and  the  native  Jewish  kings  respec 
tively  at  the  hands  of  Jeremiah.  The  Jewish  prophet 
saw  in  the  Chaldsean  invader  the  instrument  of  the  God 
of  Judah,  just  as  the  Babylonian  scribes  saw  in  Cyrus 
the  instrument  of  the  god  of  Babylon ;  and  the  fall  of  the 
house  of  David  is  attributed,  just  as  much  as  the  fall  of 
Nabonidos,  to  divine  anger. 

It  is  true  that  the  reasons  assigned  for  the  divine 
anger  are  not  the  same  in  the  two  cases.  But  the  cause 
of  the  indignation  felt  by  the  gods  of  Chaldsoa  against 


Xabonidos  offers  a  curious  illustration  of  the  words  ad 
dressed  by  the  Eab-shakeh  of  Sennacherib  to  the  people 
of  Jerusalem.  "If  ye  say  unto  me,"  he  declared,  "  we 
trust  in  the  Lord  our  God ;  is  not  that  he  whose  high- 
places  and  whose  altars  Hezekiah  hath  taken  away,  and 
hath  said  to  Judah  and  Jerusalem,  ye  shall  worship 
before  this  altar  in  Jerusalem  ?"  The  destruction  of  the 
local  cults,  the  attempt  to  unify  and  centralise  religious 
worship,  was  to  the  Bab-shaken,  as  it  was  to  the  Baby 
lonian  scribes,  and  doubtless  also  to  many  of  the  Jews  in 
the  time  of  Hezekiah,  an  act  of  the  grossest  impiety. 

An  annalistic  tablet,  drawn  up  not  long  after  the  con 
quest  of  Babylonia  by  Cyrus,  hints  that  before  making 
his  final  attack  on  the  country,  the  Elamite  prince  had 
been  secretly  aided  by  a  party  of  malcontents  in  Chaldsea 
itself.  It  is  at  all  events  significant  that  as  soon  as  the 
army  of  Nabonidos  was  defeated,  the  whole  population  at 
once  submitted,  and  that  even  the  capital,  with  its  almost 
impregnable  fortifications,  threw  open  its  gates.  The 
revolts  which  took  place  afterwards  in  the  reigns  of 
Dareios  and  Xerxes,  and  the  extremities  endured  by 
the  Babylonians  before  they  would  surrender  their  city, 
prove  that  their  surrender  was  not  the  result  of  cowardice 
or  indifference  to  foreign  rule.  The  great  mass  of  the 
people  must  have  been  discontented  with  Nabonidos 
and  anxious  for  his  overthrow. 

The  anger  of  Merodach  and  the  gods,  in  fact,  was  but 
a  convenient  way  of  describing  the  discontent  and  anger 
of  an  important  section  of  the  Babylonians  themselves. 
Nabonidos  did  not  belong  to  the  royal  house  of  Nebu 
chadnezzar;  he  seems  to  have  raised  himself  to  the 
throne  by  means  of  a  revolution,  and  his  attempt  at 

88  LECTURE   II. 

centralisation  excited  strong  local  animosities  against 
him.  Eeligion  and  civil  government  were  so  closely 
bound  up  together,  that  civil  centralisation  meant  reli 
gious  centralisation  also ;  the  surest  sign  that  the  cities 
of  Babylonia  had  been  absorbed  in  the  capital  was  that 
the  images  of  the  gods  whose  names  had  been  associated 
with  them  from  time  immemorial  were  carried  away  to 
Babylon.  The  cities  lost  their  separate  existence  along 
with  the  deities  who  watched  over  their  individual 

The  removal  of  the  gods,  however,  implied  something 
more  than  the  removal  of  a  number  of  images  and  the 
visible  loss  of  local  self-government  or  autonomy.  Each 
image  was  the  centre  of  a  particular  cult,  carried  on  in 
a  particular  temple  in  a  particular  way,  and  entrusted 
to  the  charge  of  a  special  body  of  priests.  It  was  no 
wonder,  therefore,  that  the  high-handed  proceedings  of 
Nabonidos  aroused  the  enmity  of  these  numerous  local 
priesthoods,  as  well  as  of  all  those  who  profited  in  any 
way  from  the  maintenance  of  the  local  cults.  Most  of  the 
cities  which  were  thus  deprived  of  their  ancestral  deities 
were  as  old  as  Babylon;  many  of  them  claimed  to  be 
older;  while  it  was  notorious  that  Babylon  did  not  become 
a  capital  until  comparatively  late  in  Babylonian  history. 
The  Sun-god  of  Sippara,  the  Moon-god  of  Ur,  were  alike 
older  than  Merodach  of  Babylon.  Indeed,  though  in 
the  age  of  Nabonidos  the  title  of  Bel  or  "lord"  had 
come  to  be  applied  to  Merodach  specially,  it  was  known 
that  there  was  a  more  ancient  Bel — Belitanas,  "the 
elder  Bel,'-  as  the  Greeks  wrote  the  word — > whose  wor 
ship  had  spread  from  the  city  of  Jaipur,  and  who  formed 
one  of  the  supreme  triad  of  Babylonian  gods. 


Up  to  the  last,  Babylonian  religion  remained  local. 
It  was  this  local  character  that  gives  us  the  key  to 
its  origin  and  history,  and  explains  much  that  would 
otherwise  seem  inconsistent  and  obscure.  The  endeavour 
of  JSTabonidos  to  undermine  its  local  character  and  to 
create  a  universal  religion  for  a  centralised  Babylonia, 
was  deeply  resented  by  both  priests  and  people,  and 
ushered  in  the  fall  of  the  Babylonian  empire.  The  funda 
mental  religious  idea  which  had  underlain  the  empire 
had  been  the  supremacy  of  Merodach,  the  god  of  Babylon, 
over  all  other  gods,  not  the  absorption  of  the  deities  of 
the  subject  nations  into  a  common  cult.  The  policy  of 
Nabonidos,  therefore,  which  aimed  at  making  Merodach, 
not  primus  inter  pares,  but  absolute  lord  of  captive  or 
vassal  deities,  shocked  the  prejudices  of  the  Babylonian 
people,  and  eventually  proved  fatal  to  its  author.  In 
Cyrus,  accordingly,  the  politic  restorer  of  the  captive  popu 
lations  and  their  gods  to  their  old  homes,  the  priests  and 
worshippers  of  the  local  divinities  saw  the  pious  adherent 
of  the  ancient  forms  of  faith,  and  the  real  favourite  of 
Merodach  himself.  Merodach  had  not  consented  to  the 
revolutionary  policy  of  Nabonidos ;  he  had,  on  the  con 
trary,  sympathised  with  the  wrongs  of  his  brother  gods 
in  Babylonia  and  throughout  the  world,  and  had  thus 
deserted  his  own  city  and  the  renegade  monarch  who 
ruled  over  it. 

In  all  this  there  is  a  sharp  contrast  to  the  main  reli 
gious  conception  which  subsequently  held  sway  over  the 
Persian  empire,  as  well  as  to  that  which  was  proclaimed 
by  the  prophets  of  Judah,  and  in  the  reforms  of  Hezekiah 
and  Josiah  was  carried  out  practically  by  the  Jewish 
kings.  The  Ahura-mazda  whom  Dareios  invokes  on  the 

90  LECTURE    II. 

rock  of  Behistun  is  not  only  the  lord  of  the  gods,  he  is  a 
lord  who  will  not  brook  another  god  by  his  side.  The 
supreme  god  of  the  Persian  monarch  is  as  absolute  as 
the  Persian  monarch  himself.  In  the  Persian  empire 
which  was  organised  by  Dareios,  centralisation  became 
for  the  first  time  a  recognised  and  undisputed  fact,  and 
political  centralisation  went  hand-in-hand  with  religious 
centralisation  as  well.  In  Judah,  a  theocracy  was  esta 
blished  on  the  ruins  of  the  old  beliefs  which  had  con 
nected  certain  localities  with  certain  forms  of  divinity, 
and  which  found  such  naive  expression  in  the  words  of 
David  to  Saul  (1  Sam.  xxvi.  19):  "  They  have  driven  me 
out  this  day  from  abiding  in  the  inheritance  of  the  Lord, 
saying,  Go,  serve  other  gods."  The  destruction  of  the 
high -places  and  the  concentration  of  the  worship  of 
Yahveh  in  Jerusalem,  was  followed  by  the  ever-increasing 
conviction  that  Yahveh  was  not  only  a  jealous  God  who 
would  allow  none  other  gods  besides  Himself;  He  was 
also  a  God  who  claimed  dominion  over  the  whole  world. 
Now  it  was  precisely  this  conception  which  the  Baby 
lonians,  at  least  as  a  people,  never  attained.  Nebuchad 
nezzar  may  invoke  Merodach  as  "the  lord  of  the  gods," 
"the  god  of  heaven  and  earth,"  "the  eternal,  the  holy, 
the  lord  of  all  things,"  but  he  almost  always  couples 
him  with  other  deities — Nebo,  Sin  or  Gula — of  whom 
he  speaks  in  equally  reverential  terms.  Even  Nabonidos 
uses  language  of  Sin,  the  Moon-god,  which  is  wholly 
incompatible  with  a  belief  in  the  exclusive  supremacy  of 
Merodach.  He  calls  him  "  the  lord  of  the  gods  of  heaven 
and  earth,  the  king  of  the  gods  and  the  god  of  gods, 
who  dwell  in  heaven  and  are  mighty."  Merodach  was, 
in  fact,  simply  the  local  god  of  Babylon.  Events  had 


raised  Babylon  first  to  the  dignity  of  the  capital  of 
Babylonia,  and  then  of  that  of  a  great  empire,  and  its 
presiding  deity  had  shared  its  fortunes.  It  was  he  who 
had  sent  forth  its  people  on  their  career  of  conquest ;  it 
was  to  glorify  his  name  that  he  had  given  them  victory. 
The  introduction  of  other  deities  on  an  equal  footing 
with  himself  into  his  own  peculiar  seat,  his  own  special 
city,  was  of  itself  a  profanation,  and  quite  sufficient  to 
draw  upon  Nabonidos  his  vindictive  anger.  The  Moon- 
god  might  be  worshipped  at  Ur ;  it  was  out  of  place  to 
offer  him  at  Babylon  the  peculiar  honours  which  were 
reserved  for  Merodach  alone. 

Here,  then,  is  one  of  the  results  of  that  localisation  of 
|  religious  worship  which  was  characteristic  of  Babylonia. 
Nabonidos  not  only  offended  the  priests  and  insulted  the 
gods  of  other  cities  by  bringing  their  images  into  Babylon, 
he  also  in  one  sense  impaired  the  monopoly  which  the 
local  deity  of  Babylon  enjoyed.  He  thus  stirred  up 
angry  feelings  on  both  sides.  Had  he  himself  been  free 
from  the  common  belief  of  the  Babylonian  in  the  local 
character  of  his  gods,  he  might  have  effected  a  revolution 
similar  to  that  of  Hezekiah ;  he  had,  however,  the  super 
stition  which  frequently  accompanies  antiquarian  instincts, 
and  his  endeavour  to  make  Babylon  the  common  gather 
ing-place  of  the  Babylonian  divinities  was  dictated  as 
much  by  the  desire  to  make  all  of  them  his  friends  as  by 
political  design.1 

1  It  must  be  remembered  that  the  attempt  of  Nabonidos  was  essen 
tially  different  from  the  mere  gathering  of  the  gods  of  Babylonia  into 
the  great  temple  of  Merodach,  which  Nebuchadnezzar  had  made  a  kind 
of  Chaldasan  Pantheon.    Here  they  assumed  a  merely  subordinate  place 
they  were  the  attendants  and  servitors  of  the  god  of  Babylon,  and  their 

92  LECTURE   II. 

"Now  who  was  this  Merodach,  this  patron -god  of 
Babylon,  whose  name  I  have  had  so  often  to  pronounce  ? 
Let  us  see,  first  of  all,  what  we  can  learn  about  him 
from  the  latest  of  our  documents,  the  inscriptions  of 
Nebuchadnezzar  and  his  successors.  In  these,  Merodach 
appears  as  the  divine  protector  of  Babylon  and  its  inha 
bitants.  He  has  the  standing  title  of  Bilu  or  "  lord," 
which  the  Greeks  turned  into  B^Aos,  and  which  is  the 
same  as  the  Baal  of  the  Old  Testament.  The  title  is 
frequently  used  as  a  name,  and  is,  in  fact,  the  only  name 
under  which  Merodach  was  known  to  the  Greeks  and 
Romans.  In  the  Old  Testament  also  it  is  as  Bel  that  he 
comes  before  us.  When  the  prophet  declares  that  "Bel 
boweth  down"  and  is  "  gone  into  captivity,"  he  is  refer 
ring  to  Merodach  and  the  overthrow  of  Merodach's  city. 
To  the  Babylonian,  Merodach  was  pre-eminently  "the 
Baal"  or  "  lord,"  like  the  Baalim  or  "  lords  "  worshipped 
under  special  names  and  with  special  rites  in  the  several 
cities  of  Canaan. 

The  temple  or  "tomb"  of  Belos,  as  it  was  also  called 
by  the  Greeks,  was  one  of  the  wonders  of  the  world. 
Herodotos,  quoting  probably  from  an  earlier  author, 
describes  it  in  the  following  terms : 

"  The  temple  of  Zeus  Belos,  with  bronze  gates  which  remained  up  to 
my  time,  was  a  square  building  two  furlongs  every  way.  In  the  middle 

shrines  and  chapels  were  ranged  humbly  round  his  lofty  tower.     As 
Nebuchadnezzar  himself  says,  they  here  "listened  to  him  in  reverence 
and  stood  bowing  down  before  him."     Kabonidos,  on  the  other  hand, 
endeavoured  to  transplant  the  local  cults  of  the  deities,  along  with  their 
time-honoured  images,  to  the  capital  city,  to  place  them  there  on  a  ' 
footing  of  equality  with  Merodach,  and  so  to  defraud  him  of  his  privi-  j 
leges ;  while  at  the  same  time  he  removed  the  other  deities  from  the  ! 
localities  where  alone  they  could  be  properly  adored. 


of  the  temple  was  a  tower  of  solid  masonry,  a  furlong  in  length  and 
breadth,  and  upon  this  tower  another  tower  had  heen  erected,  and  upon 
that  again  another,  and  so  on  for  eight  towers.  And  the  ascent  to  them 
was  by  an  incline  which  wound  round  all  the  towers  on  the  outside. 
About  the  middle  of  the  incline  are  a  resting-place  and  seats,  where 
those  who  ascend  may  sit  and  rest.  In  the  topmost  tower  is  a  large 
shrine,  within  which  is  a  large  and  well-appointed  couch,  with  a  golden 
table  at  its  side.  But  no  image  is  set  up  there,  nor  does  any  one  pass 
the  night  there  except  a  single  woman,  a  native  of  the  country,  whom 
the  god  selects  for  himself  from  among  all  the  inhabitants,  as  is  asserted 
by  the  Chaldaeans,  the  priests  of  the  god.  They  further  say,  though  I 
cannot  believe  it,  that  the  god  himself  visits  the  shrine  and  takes  his 
rest  upon  the  couch  ....  There  is  another  shrine  below  belonging  to 
this  Babylonian  temple,  and  containing  a  great  statue  of  Zeus  [Belos] 
of  gold  in  a  sitting  posture,  and  a  great  golden  table  is  set  beside  it. 
The  pedestal  and  chair  of  the  statue  are  of  gold,  and,  as  the  Chaldseans 
used  to  say,  the  gold  was  as  much  as  800  talents  in  weight.  Outside 
the  shrine  is  a  golden  altar.  There  is  also  another  great  altar  upon 
which  full-grown  sheep  are  sacrificed,  for  upon  the  golden  altar  only 
sucklings  are  allowed  to  be  offered.  Upon  the  larger  altar  also  the 
Chaldaeans  burn  each  year  a  thousand  talents  of  frankincense  at  the 
time  when  they  keep  the  festival  of  the  god.  In  this  part  of  the 
temple  there  was  still  at  that  time  a  figure  of  a  man  twelve  cubits 
high,  of  solid  gold." 

It  is  clear  from  this  description  that  the  great  temple 
of  Babylon  resembled  a  large  square  enclosure  formed 
by  huge  walls  of  brick,  within  which  rose  a  tower  in 
eight  stages.  Below  the  tower  was  a  shrine  or  temple, 
and  outside  it  two  altars,  the  smaller  one  of  gold  for 
special  offerings,  while  the  larger  one  was  intended  for 
the  sacrifice  of  sheep  as  well  as  for  the  burning  of 

"We  learn  a  good  deal  about  this  temple  from  the 
inscriptions  of  Nebuchadnezzar,  which  show  that  although 

1  Similarly  in  Solomon's  temple  there  were  two  altars,  one  for  larger 
and  the  other  for  smaller  offerings  (1  Kings  viii.  64). 

94  LECTURE   IT. 

Herodotos  was  correct  in  his  general  description  of  the 
building,  he  has  made  mistakes  in  the  matter  of  details. 
The  temple  itself  stood  on  the  east  side  of  Babylon,  and 
had  existed  since  the  age  of  Khammuragas  (B.C.  2250), 
and  the  first  dynasty  which  had  made  Babylon  its  capital. 
It  bore  the  title  of  E-Sagila  or  E-Saggil,  an  Accadian 
name  signifying  "  the  house  of  the  raising  of  the  head."1 
Its  entrance  also  bore  the  Accadian  title  of  Ka-khilibu, 
which  Nebuchadnezzar  renders  "  the  gate  of  glory."  He 
says  of  it :  "  Ka-khilibu,  the  gate  of  glory,  as  well  as 
the  gate  of  E-Zida  within  E-Sagila,  I  made  as  brilliant 
as  the  sun.  The  holy  seats,  the  place  of  the  gods  who 
determine  destiny,  which  is  the  place  of  the  assembly 
(of  the  gods),  the  holy  of  holies  of  the  gods  of  destiny, 
wherein  on  the  great  festival  (Zagmuku)  at  the  begin 
ning  of  the  year,  on  the  eighth  and  the  eleventh  days 
(of  the  month),  the  divine  king  (Merodach),  the  god  of 
heaven  and  earth,  the  lord  of  heaven,  descends,  while 
the  gods  in  heaven  and  earth,  listening  to  him  with  reve- 

1  Nasu  sa  resi  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  26,  59) ;  also  saqu  sa  risi,  "top  of  the 
head"  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  30,  3),  and  risdn  datum,  "of  the  lofty  head"  (ii. 
30,  14).  In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  15,  45,  saggil  is  rendered  by  the  Assyrian 
zabal,  the  Heh.  zelwl,  which  is  used  of  Solomon's  temple  in  1  Kings 
viii.  13,  where,  as  Guyard  has  shown,  the  translation  should  be  "house 
of  exaltation."  In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  7,  26,  it  is  rendered  by  the  Assyrian 
dindnu  ;  and  in  ii  7,  52,  and  28,  42,  gar  saggilla  is  rendered  by  frik- 
Iturutu  andpukhu,  both  of  which  mean  "an  enclosed  place"  or  "locked- 
up  shrine,"  accessible  only  to  the  chief  priest.  In  M  242,  11,  dinanu, 
which  probably  means  "a  stronghold,"  is  the  equivalent  of  gar  saggil; 
and  in  S.  949,  Rev.  4,  we  read :  "My  shrine  (puJchu)  which  Ea  has 
made  ....  my  stronghold  (?)  (dinanu)  which  Merodach  has  created." 
In  the  list  of  Babylonian  kings  in  which  the  meaning  of  their  names 
is  explained,  Es-Guzi  appears  as  the  earlier  Sumerian  title  of  E-Saggil. 
Guzi,  like  saggil,  is  interpreted  saqu  sa  risi  and  nasu  sa  resi  (W.  A.  I. 
ii.  30,  4 ;  26,  58). 


rential  awe  and  standing  humbly  before  him,  determine 
therein  a  destiny  of  long-ending  days,  even  the  destiny 
of  my  life;  this  holy  of  holies,  this  sanctuary  of  the 
kingdom,  this  sanctuary  of  the  lordship  of  the  first-born 
of  the  gods,  the  prince,  Merodach,  which  a  former  king 
had  adorned  with  silver,  I  overlaid  with  glittering  gold 
and  rich  ornament."1  Just  within  the  gate  was  the 
"seat"  or  shrine  of  the  goddess  Zarpanit,  the  wife  of 
Merodach,  perhaps  to  be  identified  with  that  Succoth- 
benoth  whose  image,  we  are  told  in  the  Old  Testament, 
was  made  by  the  men  of  Babylon.2 

E-Zida,  "the  firmly-established  temple,"  was  the  chapel 
dedicated  to  Nebo,  and  derived  its  name  from  the  great 
temple  built  in  honour  of  that  deity  at  Borsippa.  As 
Nebo  was  the  son  of  Merodach,  it  was  only  fitting  that 
his  shrine  should  stand  within  the  precincts  of  his  father's 
temple,  by  the  side  of  the  shrine  sacred  to  his  mother 
Zarpanit.  It  was  within  the  shrine  of  Nebo,  the  god  of 
prophecy,  that  iheparakku,  or  holy  of  holies,  was  situated, 
where  Merodach  descended  at  the  time  of  the  great  fes 
tival  at  the  beginning  of  the  year,  and  the  divine  oracles 
were  announced  to  the  attendant  priests.  The  special 
papaJcha  or  sanctuary  of  Merodach  himself  was  separate 
from  that  of  his  son.  It  went  by  the  name  of  E-Kua, 
"the  house  of  the  oracle,"3  and  probably  contained  the 

1  See  Flemming,  Die  grosse  Steinplatteninsclirift  Nebukadnezars  ii. 
(Gottingen,  1883). 

2  For  a  description  of  the  great  temple  of  Babylon,  see  George  Smith's 
account  of  the  inscription  concerning  it  quoted  in  the  Appendix. 

3  Bit-assaputi,  for  which  the  Semitic  translator  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  15,  4, 
erroneously  gives  icssabi,  through  a  confusion  of  kuay  "  oracle,"  with 
hue,  "to  sit."    In  ii.  15,  5,  assaputu,  or  "oracle,"  is  given  as  a  render 
ing  of  the  Accadian  namga  or  nagga  (AN)  Kuay  "  the  oracle  of  the  god 

96  LECTURE   IT. 

golden  statue  of  Eel  mentioned  by  Herodotos.  Nebu 
chadnezzar  tells  us  that  he  enriched  its  walls  with  "  glit 
tering  gold."  Beyond  it  rose  the  stately  ziggurat^  or 
tower  of  eight  stages,  called  E-Temen-gurum,  "the 
house  of  the  foundation-stone  of  heaven  and  earth."  As 
was  the  case  with  the  other  towers  of  Babylonia  and 
Assyria,  its  topmost  chamber  was  used  as  an  observatory. 
No  temple  was  complete  without  such  a  tower ;  it  was  to 
the  Babylonian  what  the  high-places  were  to  the  inha 
bitants  of  a  mountainous  country  like  Canaan.  It  takes 
us  back  to  an  age  when  the  gods  were  believed  to  dwell 
in  the  visible  sky,  and  when  therefore  man  did  his  best 
to  rear  his  altars  as  near  to  them  as  possible.  "  Let  us 
build  us  a  city  and  a  tower,"  said  the  settlers  in  Babel, 
"  whose  top  may  reach  unto  heaven." 

The  Babylonian  Bel,  accordingly,  was  Merodach,  who 
watched  over  the  fortunes  of  Babylon  and  the  great 
temple  there  which  had  been  erected  in  his  honour.  He 
was  not  the  national  god  of  Babylonia,  except  in  so  far 
as  the  city  of  Babylon  claimed  to  represent  the  whole  of 
Babylonia ;  he  was  simply  the  god  of  the  single  city  of 
Babylon  and  its  inhabitants.  He  was  but  one  Baal  out 
of  many  Baalim,  supreme  only  when  his  worshippers 
were  themselves  supreme.  It  was  only  when  a  Nebu 
chadnezzar  or  a  Khammuragas  was  undisputed  master  of 
Babylonia  that  the  god  they  adored  became  "  the  prince 
of  the  gods."  But  the  other  gods  maintained  their 

Kua."  In  ii.  62,  41,  ma  Kua  is  explained  to  be  "the  ship  of  Mero 
dach."  Kua  is  represented  ideographically  by  the  character  KHA,  which 
was  pronounced  Jcua  when  signifying  "to  proclaim"  (nabu)  or  "an 
nounce  an  oracle."  Merodach  was  entitled  Kua  as  "god  of  the  oracle" 
whose  "prophet"  and  interpreter  was  Nebo.  For  asapu  and  asip,  \ 
"the  diviner"  or  "oracle-giver,"  see  above,  p.  51. 


separate  positions  by  his  side,  and  in  their  own  cities 
would  have  jealously  resented  any  interference  with 
their  ancient  supremacy.  As  we  have  seen,  Nabonidos 
brought  upon  himself  the  anger  of  heaven  because  he 
carried  away  the  gods  of  Marad  and  Kis  and  other  towns 
to  swell  the  train  of  Merodach  in  his  temple  at  Babylon. 
We  can  now  therefore  appreciate  at  its  true  value  the 
language  of  Nebuchadnezzar  when  he  speaks  thus  of  his 

"  To  Merodach,  my  lord,  I  prayed ;  I  began  to  him  my  petition ;  the 
word  of  my  heart  sought  him,  and  I  said  :  '  0  prince  that  art  from 
everlasting,  lord  of  all  that  exists,  for  the  king  whom  thou  lovest, 
whom  thou  callest  by  name,  as  it  seems  good  unto  thee  thou  guidest 
his  name  aright,  thou  watchest  over  him  in  the  path  of  righteousness  ! 
I,  the  prince  who  obeys  thee,  am  the  work  of  thy  hands ;  thou  Greatest 
me  and  hast  entrusted  to  me  the  sovereignty  over  multitudes  of  men, 
according  to  thy  goodness,  0  lord,  which  thou  hast  made  to  pass  over 
them  all.  Let  me  love  thy  supreme  lordship,  let  the  fear  of  thy  divi 
nity  exist  in  my  heart,  and  give  what  seemeth  good  unto  thee,  since 
thou  maintainest  my  life.'  Then  he,  the  first-born,  the  glorious,  the 
first-born  of  the  gods,  Merodach  the  prince,  heard  my  prayer  and 
accepted  my  petition."1 

Once  more : 

"  To  Merodach,  my  lord,  I  prayed  and  lifted  up  my  hand  :  *  O 
Merodach,  (my)  lord,  first-born  of  the  gods,  the  mighty  prince,  thou 
didst  create  me,  and  hast  entrusted  to  me  the  dominion  over  multitudes 
of  men  ;  as  my  own  dear  life  do  I  love  the  height  of  thy  court ;  among 
all  mankind  have  I  not  seen  a  city  of  the  earth  fairer  than  thy  city  of 
Babylon.  As  I  have  loved  the  fear  of  thy  divinity  and  have  sought 
after  thy  lordship,  accept  the  lifting  up  of  my  hands,  hearken  to  my 
petition,  for  I  the  king  am  the  adorner  (of  thy  shrine),  who  rejoices 
thy  heart,  appointed  a  royal  priest,  the  adorner  of  all  thy  fortresses. 
By  thy  command,  0  Merodach,  the  merciful  one,  may  the  temple  I 
have  built  endure  for  ever,  and  may  I  be  satisfied  with  its  fulness.'"2 

1  From  the  East  India  House  Inscription,  Col.  i.  52 — ii.  5. 

2  Col.  ix.  45— x.  5. 


98  LECTURE   II. 

Here  Merodach,  it  will  be  observed,  though  "lord  of 
all  that  exists,"  is  nevertheless  only  the  first-born  of  the 
gods.  There  were  gods  older  than  he,  just  as  there  were 
cities  older  than  Babylon.  He  could  not  therefore  be 
absolute  lord  of  the  world ;  it  was  only  within  Babylon 
itself  that  this  was  the  case;  elsewhere  his  rule  was 
shared  with  others.  Hence  it  was  that  while  Nebuchad 
nezzar  as  a  native  of  Babylon  was  the  work  of  his  hands, 
outside  Babylon  there  were  other  creators  and  other  lords. 
This  fact  is  accentuated  in  an  inscription  of  Nabonidos, 
belonging  to  the  earlier  part  of  his  reign,  in  which 
Merodach  is  coupled  with  the  Moon-god  of  Ur  and  placed 
on  an  equal  footing  with  him. 

One  of  the  epithets  applied  by  Nebuchadnezzar  to 
Merodach  is  that  of  riminu,  or  "  merciful."  It  is  indeed 
a  standing  epithet  of  the  god.  Merodach  was  the  inter 
cessor  between  the  gods  and  men,  and  the  interpreter  of 
the  will  of  Ea,  the  god  of  wisdom.  In  an  old  bilingual 
hymn  he  is  thus  addressed:1  "Thou  art  Merodach,  the 
merciful  lord  who  loves  to  raise  the  dead  to  life."  The 
expression  is  a  remarkable  one,  and  indicates  that  the 
Babylonians  were  already  acquainted  with  a  doctrine  of 
the  resurrection  at  an  early  period.  Merodach's  attribute 
of  mercy  is  coupled  with  his  power  to  raise  the  dead. 
The  same  expression  occurs  in  another  of  these  bilingual 
hymns,  which  I  intend  to  discuss  in  a  future  Lecture.2 
The  whole  hymn  is  addressed  to  Merodach,  and  was 
doubtless  used  in  the  religious  services  of  E-Sagila.  The 
beginning  and  end  are  unfortunately  lost.  "Where  tho 
hymn  first  becomes  legible,  we  read : 

1  W.  A,  I.  iv.  19.  1.  11  2  W<  A.  I.  iv.  29,  1. 


"  (Tliou  art)  the  king  of  the  land,  the  lord  of  the  world  ! 
O  first-born  of  Ea,  omnipotent  over  heaven  and  earth.1 
0  mighty  lord  of  mankind,  king  of  (all)  lands, 
(Thou  art)  the  god  of  gods, 

(The  prince)  of  heaven  and  earth  who  hath  no  rival, 
The  companion  of  Anu  and  Bel  (Mul-lil), 
The  merciful  one  among  the  gods, 
The  merciful  one  who  loves  to  raise  the  dead  to  life, 
Merodach,  king  of  heaven  and  earth, 
King  of  Babylon,  lord  of  ^-sagila, 

King  of  E-Zida,  king  of  E-makh-tilla  (the  supreme  house  of  life), 
Heaven  and  earth  are  thine  ! 
The  circuit  of  heaven  and  earth  is  thine, 
The  incantation  that  gives  life  is  thine, 
The  breath2  that  gives  life  is  thine, 
The  holy  writing3  of  the  mouth  of  the  deep  is  thine : 
Mankind,  even  the  black-headed  race  (of  Accad),4 
All  living  souls  that  have  received  a  name,  that  exist  in  the  world, 
The  four  quarters  of  the  earth  wheresoever  they  are, 
All  the  angel-hosts  of  heaven  and  earth 
(Regard)  thee  and  (lend  to  thee)  an  ear." 

It  is  impossible  to  read  this  hymn  without  being  struck 
by  the  general  similarity  of  tone  that  exists  between  it 

1  Accadian,  "  filling  heaven  and  earth." 

2  Ivat,  Heb.  Khavvdh,  or  "Eve." 

3  Musaru,  perhaps  the  "  Musaros  Cannes"  of  Ber6ssos.     Ea,  the  god 
of  the  deep  and  of  the  city  of  Eridu,  was  the  Cannes  of  Berossos,  and 
not  only  the  god  of  wisdom  and  author  of  Babylonian  culture,  but  him 
self  a  writer  of  books  (see  W.  A.  I.  iv.  55,  7),  which  proceeded  as  it  were 
out  of  his  mouth. 

4  The  precise  meaning  of  this  expression,  which  is  frequent  in  the 
hymns,  is  uncertain.     It  may  refer  to  the  custom  of  wearing  long  black 
hair,  though  in  this  case  we  should  have  expected  the  phrase  to  be 
"black-haired"  rather  than  "black-headed."     As,  however,  M.  Dieu- 
lafoy's  excavations  on  the  site  of  Susa  have  brought  to  light  enamelled 
bricks  of  the  Elamite  period  on  which  a  black  race  of  mankind  is 
portrayed,  it  may  mean  that  the  primitive  JSumerian  population  of 
Chaldsea  was  really  black-skinned. 


100  LECTURE   II. 

and  another  hymn  which  is  addressed  to  the  Sun-god. 
Let  us  hear  what  the  latter  has  to  say  to  us  :l 

"  0  lord,  the  illuminator  of  darkness,  thou  that  openest  the  face 

of  the  sick ! 

Merciful  god,  planter  of  the  lowly,  supporter  of  the  weak, 
Unto  thy  light  look  the  great  gods, 
The  spirits  of  the  earth  all  behold  thy  face. 
The  language  of  hosts  as  one  word  thou  directest, 
Smiting  their  heads  they  behold  the  light  of  the  midday  sun. 
Like  a  wife  thou  behavest  thyself,  cheerful  and  rejoicing, 
Yea,  thou  art  their  light  in  the  vault  of  the  far-off  sky. 
In  the  broad  earth  thou  art  their  illumination. 
Men  far  and  wide  behold  thee  and  rejoice. 
The  mighty  gods  have  smelled  a  sweet  savour, 
The  holy  food  of  heaven,  the  wine  (of  the  sacrifice)  .... 
Whosoever  has  not  turned  his  hand  to  wickedness  .... 
They  shall  eat  the  food  (he  offers,  shall  receive  the  sacrifice  he 

makes  ?)." 

Like  Merodach,  the  Sun-god  also  is  u  the  merciful  god." 
Like  Merodach,  too,  it  is  to  him  that  gods  and  men  alike 
turn  their  gaze.  Even  the  power  of  Merodach  of  raising 
the  dead  to  life  is  ascribed  to  him.  A  hymn  to  Samas 
the  Sun-god  begins  with  the  following  words : 

"  0  Sun-god,  king  of  heaven  and  earth,  director  of  things  above 

and  below, 
0  Sun-god,  thou  that  clothest  the  dead  with  life,  delivered  by  thy 


Judge  unbribed,  director  of  mankind, 

Supreme  is  the  mercy  of  him  who  is  the  lord  over  difficulty, 
Bidding  the  child  and  offspring  come  forth,  light  of  the  world, 
Creator  of  all  thy  universe,  the  Sun-god  art  thou."2 

May  we  not  conclude,  then,  that  originally  Merodach 
also  was  a  solar  deity,  the  particular  Sun-god,  in  fact, 
whose  worship  was  carried  on  at  Babylon  ? 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  19,  2.  2  S  947,  Obv.  3—8. 

BEL-MERODACH  OF  BABYLON.          101 

The  conclusion  is  verified  by  the  express  testimony  of 
the  ritual  belonging  to  Merodach's  temple  E-Sagila.  Here 
we  read  that 

"  In  the  month  Nisan,  on  the  second  day,  two  hours  after  nightfall, 
the  priest  must  come  and  take  of  the  waters  of  the  river,  must  enter 
into  the  presence  of  Bel ;  and  putting  on  a  stole  in  the  presence  of 
Bel,  must  say  this  prayer  :  '  0  Bel,  who  in  his  strength  has  no  equal  1 
O  Bel,  blessed  sovereign,  lord  of  the  world,  seeking  after  the  favour  of 
the  great  gods,  the  lord  who  in  his  glance  has  destroyed  the  strong,  lord 
of  kings,  light  of  mankind,  establisher  of  faith  !  0  Bel,  thy  sceptre  is 
Babylon,  thy  crown  is  Borsippa,  the  wide  heaven  is  the  dwelling-place 
of  thy  liver .  .  .  .  O  lord  of  the  world,  light  of  the  spirits  of  heaven, 
utterer  of  blessings,  who  is  there  whose  mouth  murmurs  not  of  thy 
righteousness,  or  speaks  not  of  thy  glory,  and  celebrates  not  thy  domi 
nion  1  0  lord  of  the  world,  who  dwellest  in  the  temple  of  the  Sun, 
reject  not  the  hands  that  are  raised  to  thee ;  be  merciful  to  thy  city 
Babylon,  to  E-Sagila  thy  temple  incline  thy  face ;  grant  the  prayers  of 
thy  people  the  sons  of  Babylon.'"1 

Nothing  can  be  more  explicit  than  the  statement  that 
E-Sagila,  the  temple  of  Merodach,  was  also  the  temple 
of  the  Sun.  We  thus  come  to  understand  the  attributes 
that  are  ascribed  to  Merodach  and  the  language  that  is 
used  of  him.  He  is  "  the  light  of  the  spirits  of  heaven," 
even  as  the  Sun- god,  in  the  hymn  I  quoted  just  now,  is 
"  the  illuminator  of  darkness"  whose  face  is  beheld  by 
the  spirits  of  the  earth.  The  wide  heaven  is  naturally 
his  dwelling-place,  and  he  raises  the  dead  to  life  as  the 
sun  of  spring  revivifies  the  dead  vegetation  of  winter. 

The  part  that  he  plays  in  the  old  mythological  poems, 
in  the  poems,  that  is,  which  embody  the  ancient  myths 
and  legends  of  Babylonia,  is  now  fully  explained.  One 
of  the  most  famous  of  these  was  the  story  of  the  combat 
between  Merodach  and  Tiamat,  the  dragon  of  darkness 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  46.    For  a  fuller  account  of  this  hymn,  see  above,  p.  80. 

102  LECTURE   II. 

and  chaos.  Meroclacli  advances  to  the  fight  armed  with 
a  club  and  bow  which  Ami  had  placed  in  his  hand  and 
which  subsequently  became  a  constellation,  as  well  as 
with  his  own  peculiar  weapon  which  hung  behind  his 
back.  It  was  shaped  like  a  sickle,  and  is  the  apirrj  or 
Jchereb  with  which  Greek  mythology  armed  the  Asiatic 
hero  Perseus.  The  struggle  was  long  and  terrible. 
Tiamat  opened  her  mouth  to  swallow  the  god,  but  he 
thrust  a  storm- wind  down  her  throat,  and  the  monster 
was  burst  asunder,  while  her  allies  fled  in  terror  before 
the  victorious  deity.  The  combat  is  represented  in  stone 
in  one  of  the  Assyrian  bas-reliefs  now  in  the  British 
Museum.  There  we  can  see  the  demon  as  she  appeared 
to  the  Assyrians,  with  claws  and  wings,  a  short  tail,  and 
horns  upon  the  head.  When  we  remember  the  close 
parallelism  that  exists  between  this  conflict  of  Merodach 
with  Tiamat,  and  the  war  recorded  in  the  Apocalypse 
between  Michael  and  "  the  great  dragon,"  it  is  difficult 
not  to  trace  in  the  lineaments  of  Tiamat  the  earliest  por 
traiture  of  the  mediaeval  devil. 

Another  myth  in  which  Merodach  again  appears  as 
champion  of  the  bright  powers  of  day  in  their  eternal 
struggle  against  night  and  storm,  is  the  myth  which 
describes  in  but  thinly- veiled  language  the  eclipse  of  the 
moon.  We  are  there  told  how  "  the  seven  wicked  spirits, 
the  seven  ministers  of  storm  and  tempest,  who  had  been 
created  in  the  lower  part  of  heaven,"  assailed  the  Moon- 
god  as  he  sat  in  his  appointed  seat.  His  comrades,  the 
Sun-god  and  the  Evening  Star  whom  "  Bel"  had  enjoined 
to  share  with  him  the  sovereignty  of  the  "  lower  heaven" 
or  visible  sky,  fled  from  before  the  coming  attack,  and  Sin, 
the  Moon-god,  was  left  alone  to  face  his  enemies.  But 


"Eel"  beheld  "the  eclipse"  of  the  lord  of  night,  and 
Merodach  was  sent  to  rescue  him  and  restore  once  again 
the  light  of  the  moon.  Arrayed  in  "  glistening  armour," 
with  a  helmet  of  "  light  like  fire"  upon  his  head,  he  went 
forth  accordingly  against  the  powers  of  darkness,  and  the 
battle  ended  in  his  favour,  like  that  against  the  dragon. 
The  Eel  of  this  legend,  who  has  settled  the  places  of 
the  Sun  and  the  Moon  in  the  sky,  is  not  the  Eabylonian 
Eel,  but  the  older  Bel  of  Nipur,  from  whom  Merodach, 
the  Eel  of  Eabylon,  had  afterwards  to  be  distinguished. 
The  Accadian  original  of  the  poem  belongs  to  a  very 
early  epoch,  before  the  rise  of  Babylon,  when  the  supreme 
Eel  of  the  Semitic  inhabitants  of  Babylonia  was  still  the 
god  whom  the  Accadians  called  Mul-lilla,  "  the  lord  of 
the  lower  world."  This  Eel  or  Mul-lilla  fades  into  the 
background  as  the  Semitic  element  in  Eabylonian  religion 
became  stronger  and  the  influence  of  Babylon  greater, 
though  the  part  that  he  played  in  astronomical  and  cos- 
mological  lore,  as  well  as  his  local  cult  at  Mpur,  kept 
his  memory  alive ;  while  the  dreaded  visitants  of  night, 
the  demoniac  lilu  and  lilat  or  lilith^  from  the  lower  world, 
preserved  a  faint  memory  of  the  spirits  of  which  he  had 
once  been  the  chief.  One  by  one,  however,  the  attributes 
that  had  formerly  attached  to  the  older  Bel  were  absorbed 
by  the  younger  Eel  of  Eabylon.  It  was  almost  as  it  was 
in  Greece,  where  the  older  gods  were  dethroned  by  their 
own  offspring ;  in  the  Babylonia  of  Nebuchadnezzar  and 
Nabonidos,  it  was  the  younger  gods — Merodach,  Sin  and 
Samas — to  whom  vows  were  the  most  often  made  and 
prayer  the  most  often  ascended.  Such  was  the  latest 
result  of  the  local  character  of  Babylonian  worship :  the 
younger  gods  were  the  gods  of  the  younger  Eabylonian 



cities,  and  the  god  of  Babylon,  though  he  might  be 
termed  "the  first-born  of  the  gods,"  was  in  one  sense 
the  youngest  of  them  all. 

The  title,  however,  "  first-born  of  the  gods"  was  of 
the  same  nature  as  the  other  title,  "  prince  of  the  world," 
bestowed  upon  him  by  his  grateful  worshippers.  It 
meant  little  else  than  that  Babylon  stood  at  the  head  of 
the  world,  and  that  its  god  must  therefore  be  the  first 
born,  not  of  one  primaeval  deity,  but  of  all  the  primaeval 
deities  acknowledged  in  Chaldsea.  According  to  the 
earlier  faith,  he  was  the  first-born  of  Ea  only.  Ea  was 
god  of  the  deep,  both  of  the  atmospheric  deep  upon 
which  the  world  floats,  and  of  that  watery  deep,  the 
Okeanos  of  Homer,  which  surrounds  the  earth  like  a 
coiled  serpent.  All  streams  and  rivers  were  subject  to 
his  sway,  for  they  flowed  into  that  Persian  Gulf  which 
the  ignorance  of  the  primitive  Chaldsean  imagined  to  be 
the  ocean-stream  itself.  It  was  from  the  Persian  Gulf 
that  tradition  conceived  the  culture  and  civilisation  of 
Babylonia  to  have  come,  and  Ea  was  therefore  lord  of 
wisdom  as  well  as  lord  of  the  deep.  His  son  Merodach 
was  the  minister  of  his  counsels,  by  whom  the  commands 
of  wisdom  were  carried  into  practice.  Merodach  was 
thus  the  active  side  of  his  father  Ea ;  to  use  the  language 
of  Gnosticism,  he  was  the  practical  activity  that  emanates 
from  wisdom. 

Ea,  however,  was  not  the  god  of  Babylon,  nor  was 
his  name  of  Semitic  origin.  He  watched  over  the  des 
tinies  of  "the  holy  city"  of  Eridu,  now  Abu-Shahrein, 
which  stood  in  early  days  on  the  very  shores  of  the 
Persian  Gulf.  How  Merodach  came  to  be  regarded  as 
his  son  we  can  only  guess.  Perhaps  Babylon  had  been 


a  colony  of  Eridu ;  perhaps  it  was  from  Eridu  that  the 
culture  associated  with  the  name  of  Ea  first  made  its 
way  to  Babylon.  We  must  be  content  with  the  fact 
that  from  time  immemorial  Merodach  had  been  the  first 
born  of  Ea,  and  that  therefore  between  Eridu  and  Babylon 
a  very  close  connection  must  have  existed  in  pre-historic 

Was  Merodach  himself  an  Accadian  or  a  Semitic  deity  ? 
The  names  of  the  kings  belonging  to  the  first  dynasty  of 
Babylon  are  mostly  Semitic ;  it  might  therefore  be  sup 
posed  that  the  deity  they  worshipped  was  Semitic  also. 
And  so  undoubtedly  was  the  Merodach  of  the  historical 
age,  the  great  Bel  or  Baal  of  Babylon.  But  we  must 
remember  that  the  foundation  of  Babylon  went  back 
into  the  dim  night  of  the  past  far  beyond  the  era  of  its 
first  dynasty  of  Semitic  kings,  and  that  its  very  name 
was  but  a  translation  of  the  older  Ka-dimira,  "  gate  of 
the  god."  The  temple  of  Merodach,  moreover,  bore,  up 
to  the  last,  not  a  Semitic,  but  an  Accadian  designation. 
As  we  shall  see,  along  with  the  older  culture  the 
Semitic  settlers  in  Babylonia  borrowed  a  good  deal  of 
the  theology  of  the  Accadian  people,  modifying  it  in 
accordance  with  their  own  beliefs,  and  identifying  its 
gods  and  demons  with  their  own  Baalim.  It  would  not 
be  surprising,  then,  if  we  found  that  Merodach  also  had 
once  been  an  Accadian  divinity,  though  his  attributes, 
and  perhaps  also  his  name,  differed  very  considerably 
from  those  of  the  Semitic  Bel.  Even  after  the  Eomans 
had  identified  their  Saturn  with  the  Kronos  of  the 
Greeks,  the  essential  characteristics  of  the  two  deities 
remained  altogether  different. 

In  the  legend  of  the  assault  of  the  seven  evil  spirits 

106  LECTURE   II. 

upon  the  Moon — a  legend  which,  unlike  the  hymns  to 
Merodach,  goes  back  to  the  pre-Semitic  epoch — the  god 
whom  the  Semitic  translator  has  identified  with  Merodach 
is  called  in  the  Accadian  original  Asari-uru-duga,  "the 
chief  who  does  good  to  man."  He  receives  his  title 
from  the  fact  that,  like  the  Semitic  Merodach,  he  is  the 
son  of  Ea,  from  whom  he  conveys  to  mankind  the  charms 
and  philtres  and  other  modes  of  healing  and  help  which 
a  belief  in  sorcery  invented.  But  there  is  little  that  is 
solar  about  him.  On  the  contrary,  he  is  distinguished 
from  the  Sun-god;  and  if  he  fights  against  the  storm- 
demons  with  his  helmet  of  light,  it  is  because  he  is  one 
of  the  bright  powers  of  day  who  benefit  mankind.  The 
fire-god  is  his  minister,  but  he  is  himself  little  more 
than  the  personified  agency  who  carries  the  wisdom  of 
Ea  to  gods  and  men.  It  is  in  this  way  that  he  is 
regarded  as  the  god  of  life :  the  spells  taught  him  by  Ea 
are  able,  if  need  be,  to  recover  the  sick  and  raise  even 
the  dead  to  life.  Hence  he  receives  the  title  of  Asari- 
nam-tila,  "the  chief  of  life."  The  title,  however,  was 
justified  only  by  the  creed  of  the  sorcerer,  not  yet  by 
the  worship  of  the  solar  Bel,  the  "merciful"  lord. 

"Whether  the  name  Maruduk  (Merodach)  were  Accadian 
or  Semitic  in  origin,  I  cannot  say.  If  it  is  Semitic,  it 
has  so  changed  its  form  that  its  etymology  is  no  longer 
recognisable.  It  may  be  merely  a  Semitic  transformation 
of  the  Accadian  Uru-dug,  "benefactor  of  man;"  in  any 
case,  its  origin  was  already  forgotten  in  the  days  when 
the  Babylonians  first  began  to  speculate  on  the  derivation 
of  their  words.  "When  first  we  meet  with  it  in  Semitic 
texts,  it  is  expressed  by  two  ideographs,  which  read 
Amar-ud,  "the  heifer  of  day."  This  is  a  punning  refer- 

BEL-MERODACH  OF  BABYLON.          107 

ence  to  the  old  Accadian  notion  of  the  sky  as  a  ploughed 
field  through  which  the  Sun  drew  the  share  in  his 
annual  journey.  Under  this  aspect,  the  Sun  was  termed 
by  the  Accadians  Gudibir,  "the  bull  of  light;"  hence 
when  Merodach  became  a  Sun-god,  he  was  identified 
with  the  ancient  Gudibir,  and  astrology  taught  that  he 
was  one  and  same  with  each  of  the  twelve  zodiacal  signs.1 
"We  have  thus  been  able,  in  spite  of  the  imperfection 
of  our  documents,  to  trace  the  history  of  the  patron-god 
of  Babylon  from  the  time  when  he  was  as  yet  merely 
the  interpreter  of  the  Accadian  Ea,  merely  a  water-spirit 
rising  with  the  dawn  out  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  to  the 
time  when  he  became  the  Semitic  Sun-god  Bel,  and 
eventually  the  head  of  the  Babylonian  Pantheon.  But 
we  have  seen  at  the  same  time  that  up  to  the  last  he 
remained  essentially  local  in  character ;  if  he  was  lord  of 
the  other  gods,  it  was  only  because  the  king  of  Babylon 
was  lord  also  of  other  cities  and  lands.  It  is  not  until 

1  Halevy  lias  proposed  to  see  in  the  name  of  Maruduk  the  Semitic 
mar-utuki,  "  the  lord  of  demons."  This,  however,  is  worse  than  the 
Assyrian  play  upon  the  name,  and  takes  no  account  of  the  fact  that 
maru  in  Assyro-Babylonian  means  only  "  son,"  never  "  lord,"  and  that 
utuki  contains  a  t  and  not  a  d.  In  "W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  34,  the  Sun-god,  it 
is  true,  is  called  Utuki,  but  this  word  has  nothing  to  do  with  udu,  "  the 
day,"  but  is  the  Accadian  uiuk  or  "  spirit."  The  Sun-god,  in  fact,  was 
addressed  as  "the  great  spirit."  If  a  conjecture  is  permitted,  I  would 
propose  to  see  in  Maruduk  a  Semitised  form  of  the  Accadian  Muru-dug, 
"  he  who  benefits  man,"  the  Asari  of  the  full  title  being  omitted.  Muru, 
whence  uru,  "  man,"  is  a  dialectic  side-form  of  mulu.  But  the  vowel 
of  the  first  syllable  of  Maruduk  creates  a  difficulty,  and  since  the  Baby 
lonians  had  forgotten  the  origin  of  the  name,  it  is  not  likely  that  we 
shall  be  more  successful  than  they  were  in  discovering  it.  Perhaps 
Delitzsch  is  right  (Wo  lag  das  Paradies,  p.  228)  in  seeing  in  Maruduk 
mar-Urudug,  "the  son  of  Eridu."  At  all  events,  Merodach  is  called 
"the  son  of  Eridu"  in  "W.  A.  I.  iv.  8,  41,  and  other  places.  Maruduk 
is  frequently  contracted  into  Marduk. 

108  LECTURE   II. 

Babylonia  ceases  to  be  an  independent  power  that  this 
local  conception  of  the  great  Babylonian  divinity  tends 
to  disappear.  At  Babylon,  Cyrus,  the  foreigner  from 
Elam,  becomes  the  favourite  and  the  worshipper  of 
Bel-Merodach,  and  the  priests  of  Merodach  even  pretend 
that  he  had  been  the  god's  favourite  before  he  came  to 
Babylon  as  its  master  and  conqueror.  Although,  there 
fore,  it  is  only  in  Babylonia  that  Merodach  is  the  god  of 
Cyrus,  as  he  had  been  the  god  of  Nebuchadnezzar,  the 
fact  that  Cyrus  was  not  a  Babylonian  necessarily  enlarged 
the  old  conception  of  Bel  and  gave  to  him  a  universal 
character.  From  this  time  onwards,  Merodach  was  more 
and  more  the  god,  not  of  the  Babylonians  alone,  but  of 
all  men  everywhere;  when  the  Greek  kings  of  Asia 
caused  inscriptions  to  be  written  in  the  Babylonian 
language  and  writing,  Merodach  takes  the  place  of  Zeus, 
and,  as  the  grandson  of  Aua  or  Eoa,  "the  dawn,"  is 
identified  with  the  Memnon  of  Homeric  story.1 

1  In  the  cuneiform  inscription  of  Antiokhos  Soter,  published  by 
Strassmaier  in  the  Verliandlungen  des  funften  Orientalisten-CongresseSj 
ii.  1,  pp.  139—142,  Merodach  is  called  (1.  20)  "the  offspring  of  the 
god  who  is  the  son  of  Aua"  (AUl  Aua).  In  lines  34 — 36,  Nebo  is 
called  "  the  son  of  E-Saggil,  the  first-born  of  Asari  the  chief  (ristu), 
the  offspring  of  the  god  who  is  the  son  of  Aua  the  queen."  Here  Aua 
is  represented  as  a  goddess,  and  since  her  son  was  the  father  of  Mero 
dach,  she  must  correspond  to  the  goddess  Zikum  of  the  early  texts. 
Halevy,  confounding  her  with  Ea,  has  gone  on  to  identify  Ea  with  the 
Hebrew  Yahveh — an  identification  which,  it  is  needless  to  say,  is 
phonetically  impossible.  Aua  is  obviously  the  Greek  Eoa,  either  the 
accusative  of  'Ho>?  or  the  feminine  of  the  corresponding  adjective. 
From  the  time  of  Ktesias,  Memnon,  the  son  of  the  goddess  Eos,  had 
been  made  an  Assyro-Babylonian  prince,  and  the  resemblance  of  the 
name  of  Ea  to  Eos  may  have  suggested  the  idea  of  associating  him  with 
Merodach,  the  lord  of  Babylon.  Teutamos,  with  his  double  Teutasos, 
the  king  by  whom,  according  to  Ktesias,  Memnon  was  sent  to  the  help 
of  Priam,  is  simply  "the  man  of  the  sea"  or  tavtim,  the  name  by 


But  already  before  the  age  of  Cyrus  there  was  one 
portion  of  the  Assyro-Babylonian  world  in  which  the 
narrower  local  view  of  Merodach  had  perforce  disap 
peared.  This  was  Assyria.  The  local  gods  of  Babylonia 
had  been  carried  into  Assyria  by  its  Semitic  settlers,  or 
else  introduced  into  the  cultivated  circle  of  the  court 
by  the  literary  classes  of  later  days.  Merodach  was 
necessarily  among  the  latter.  Certain  of  the  Assyrian 
kings,  or  at  least  their  scribes,  invoke  Merodach  with  the 
same  fervour  as  the  kings  of  Babylon.  Shalmaneser  II. 
calls  him  u  the  prince  of  the  gods,"  just  as  a  pious  Baby 
lonian  would  have  done ;  and  the  monarchs  of  the  second 
Assyrian  empire,  who  were  crowned  at  Babylon  as  the 
German  princes  were  crowned  at  Eome,  consider  them 
selves  placed  by  the  act  under  the  patronage  of  the 
Babylonian  god.1  Although,  therefore,  the  earlier  As 
syrian  kings  avoid  the  mention  of  Merodach,  and  the 
introduction  of  his  name  into  a  specifically  Assyrian  in 
scription  is  due  either  to  the  affectation  of  learning  or  to 
a  claim  to  the  throne  of  Babylon,  the  very  fact  that  the 
name  was  introduced  altered  the  conception  under  which 

which  the  sea-coast  of  Babylonia,  with  its  capital  Eridu,  was  known. 
Aua  has,  of  course,  nothing  to  do  with  the  god  Au,  "  the  wind,"  a  title 
of  Rimmon,  which  forms  part  of  the  proper  name  Au-nahdi  (K  344.  6). 
1  To  "take  the  hand  of  Bel"  was  equivalent  to  recognition  as  king 
of  Babylon.  Possibly  it  denoted  that  the  person  who  performed  the 
ceremony  had  entered  the  holy  of  holies  in  which  the  imago  of  Bel- 
Merodach  stood — an  act  permitted  only  to  the  high-priest  or  the  king 
in  his  office  of  high-priest  (sakkanaku).  The  sakkanaku  is  sometimes 
identical  with  the  king,  sometimes  distinguished  from  the  king  (e.g. 
"W.  A.  I.  i.  64.  ix.  64),  and  the  sakkanaku  of  Babylon  was  a  special 
title  (thus  Esarhaddon  calls  himself  "sakkanaku  of  Babylon,"  but 
"king  of  Sumer  and  Accad,"  W.  A.  I.  i.  48,  No.  6).  Like  sangu,  the 
word  expressed  servitude  to  the  god. 

110  LECTURE   IT. 

Merodach  was  regarded,  and  loosened  the  bonds  of  his 
connection  with  a  particular  locality.  In  Assyria  at 
least,  Bel-Merodach  was  as  much  a  universal  god  as  the 
older  gods  of  the  celestial  hierarchy. 

This  transformation  of  his  nature  was  aided  by  the 
inevitable  confusion  that  arose  between  Bel-Merodach 
and  the  older  Bel.  To  such  an  extent  was  this  confusion 
carried,  that  we  find  Assur-bani-pal  describing  Merodach 
as  "Bel,  the  son  of  Bel."  When  such  a  statement 
could  be  made  in  the  learned  court  of  Assur-bani-pal,  it 
is  clear  that  to  the  ordinary  Assyrian  "the  son  of  Ea" 
of  ancient  Babylonian  belief  had  been  absorbed  into  the 
solar  Bel,  the  supreme  divinity  of  the  southern  kingdom. 

Even  at  Babylon,  however,  Merodach  did  not  stand 
alone.  He  shared  his  divine  honours,  as  we  have  seen, 
with  his  wife  Zarpanitu  and  his  son  Nebo.  The  old 
Accadian  cult  seems  to  have  had  a  fancy  for  trinities  or 
triads,  originating  perhaps  in  the  primary  astronomical 
triad  of  the  Sun-god,  the  Moon-god  and  the  Evening 
Star.  The  Accadian  triad  usually  consisted  of  male 
deities.  The  Semites,  however,  as  I  hope  to  point  out 
in  the  next  Lecture,  introduced  a  new  idea,  that  of  sex, 
into  the  theology  of  the  country.  Every  god  was  pro 
vided  with  his  female  reflection,  who  stood  to  him  in  the 
relation  of  the  wife  to  the  husband.  Baal,  accordingly, 
had  his  female  reflex,  his  "face"  as  it  was  termed,  Bilat 
or  Beltis.  By  the  side  of  the  Baal  of  Babylon,  therefore, 
stood  Beltis,  "the  lady"  by  the  side  of  her  "lord." 
Her  local  name  was  Zarpanitu,  which  a  punning  etymo 
logy  subsequently  turned  into  Zir-banitu,  "  creatress  of 
seed,"1  sometimes  written  Zir-panitu,  with  an  obvious 
i  So  in  S  1720,  23  (AN)  Zi-ir-la-ni-tuv,  W.  A.  I.  ii,  67,  12. 


play  on  the  word  panu,  or  "  face."  Zarpanitu  was  of 
purely  Semitic  origin.  But  she  was  identified  with  an 
older  Accadian  divinity,  Gasmu,  "the  wise  one,"1  the 
fitting  consort  of  a  deity  whose  office  it  was  to  convey 
the  wishes  of  the  god  of  wisdom  to  suffering  humanity. 

The  Accadian  goddess,  however,  must  originally  have 
stood  rather  in  the  relation  of  mother  than  of  wife  to  the 
primitive  Merodach.  She  was  entitled  uthe  lady  of  the 
deep,"  "  the  mistress  of  the  abode  of  the  fish,"  and  "  the 
voice  of  the  deep."2  Hence  she  must  have  ranked  by 
the  side  of  Ea,  the  fish-god  and  "  lord  of  the  deep ;"  and 
in  the  title  "  voice"  or  "  incantation  of  the  deep,"  we  may 
see  a  reference  to  the  ideas  which  caused  Ea  to  become 
the  god  of  wisdom,  and  brought  the  fish-god  Cannes  out 
of  the  Persian  Gulf  to  carry  culture  and  knowledge  to 
the  inhabitants  of  Chaldaea.  In  the  roar  of  the  sea-waves, 
the  early  dwellers  on  the  shores  of  the  Gulf  must  have 
heard  the  voice  of  heaven,  and  their  prophets  and  diviners 
must  have  discovered  in  it  a  revelation  of  the  will  of  the 
gods.  It  is  not  surprising,  therefore,  if  Zarpanit  was 
specially  identified  with  the  goddess  Lakhamun,  who  was 
worshipped  in  the  sacred  island  of  Dilmun,  or  with  the 
goddess  Elagu,  whose  name  was  revered  in  the  mountains 
of  Elam.3 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  37.    The  Accadian  gasam  is  translated  mudu,  enqu, 
in  82.  8—16,  1,  Obv.  19. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54.  62,  55,  57.     Other  titles  were  "the  lady  of  the 
city  of  Kurnun,"  though  "the  goddess  Kurnun"  was  identified  with 
Tasmit  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  39),  and  Eru  or  Erua  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  54.  60,  59, 
S  1720,  2).     It  is  probable  that  she  was  identified  with  Nina  the  fish- 
goddess,  the  daughter  of  Ea. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54.  58,  65.     The  name  is  probably  connected  with 
that  of  the  cosmogonic  deities  Lakhma  and  Lakhama,  with  the  same 

112  LECTURE   II. 

In  Semitic  days,  Zarpanit,  the  inheritor  of  all  these 
old  traditions  and  worships,  fell  from  her  high  estate. 
She  ceased  to  be  the  goddess  of  wisdom,  the  voice  of  the 
deep  revealing  the  secrets  of  heaven  to  the  diviner  and 
priest ;  she  became  merely  the  female  shadow  and  com 
panion  of  Merodach,  to  whom  a  shrine  was  erected  at  the 
entrance  to  his  temple.  Her  distinctive  attributes  all 
belong  to  the  pre-Semitic  epoch ;  with  the  introduction 
of  a  language  which  recognised  gender,  she  was  lost  in 
the  colourless  throng  of  Ashtaroth  or  Baalat,  the  god 
desses  who  were  called  into  existence  by  the  masculino 

Zarpanit,  however,  had  something  to  do  with  the  pro 
minence  given  to  Nebo  in  the  Babylonian  cult.  Nebo, 
the  son  of  Merodach  and  Zarpanitu,  had,  as  we  have 
seen,  a  chapel  called  E-Zida  within  the  precincts  of  the 
great  temple  of  his  father.  E-Zida,  "  the  constituted 
house,"  derived  its  name  from  the  great  temple  of  Bor- 
sippa,  the  suburb  of  Babylon,  the  ruins  of  which  are 
now  known  to  travellers  as  the  Birs-i-Nimnid.  Borsippa, 
it  would  seem,  had  once  been  an  independent  town,  and 
Nebo,  or  the  prototype  of  Nebo,  had  been  its  protecting 
deity.  In  the  middle  of  the  city  rose  E-Zida,  the  temple 
of  Nebo  and  Nana  Tasmit,  with  its  holy  of  holies,  "  the 
supreme  house  of  life,"  and  its  lofty  tower  termed  "the 
house  of  the  seven  spheres  of  heaven  and  earth."  It 
had  been  founded,  though  never  finished,  according  to 
Nebuchadnezzar,  by  an  ancient  king.  For  long  centuries 
it  had  remained  a  heap  of  ruin,  until  restored  by  Nebu 
chadnezzar,  and  legends  had  grown  up  thickly  around 

termination  as  that  which  we  find  in  the  name  of  Dilmun  or  Dilvun 

BEL-MERODACH  OF  BABYLON.          113 

it.  It  was  known  as  the  tul  ellu,  "the  pure"  or  "holy 
mound,"  and  one  of  the  titles  of  Nebo  accordingly  was 
"god  of  the  holy  mound."1 

The  word  Nebo  is  the  Semitic  Babylonian  Nabiu  or 
Nabu.  It  means  "the  proclaimer,"  "the  prophet,"  and 
thus  indicates  the  character  of  the  god  to  whom  it  was 
applied.  Nebo  was  essentially  the  proclaimer  of  the 
mind  and  wishes  of  Merodach.  He  stood  to  Merodach 
in  the  same  relation  that  an  older  mythology  regarded 
Merodach  as  standing  to  Ea.  "While  Merodach  was 
rather  the  god  of  healing,  in  accordance  with  his  primi 
tively  solar  nature,  Nebo  was  emphatically  the  god  of 
science  and  literature.  The  communication  of  the  gifts 
of  wisdom,  therefore,  which  originally  emanated  from 
Ea,  was  thus  shared  between  Merodach  and  his  son.  At 
Babylon,  the  culture-god  of  other  countries  was  divided 
into  two  personalities,  the  one  conveying  to  man  the 
wisdom  that  ameliorates  his  condition,  the  other  the 
knowledge  which  finds  its  expression  in  the  art  of  writing. 

This  division  was  due  to  the  local  character  of  Baby 
lonian  religion  which  I  have  tried  to  bring  into  relief. 
When  Babylon  became  the  centre  of  the  Babylonian 
monarchy,  Borsippa  was  already  its  suburb.  But  the 
suburb  had  a  past  life  and  history  of  its  own,  which 
gathered  round  its  great  temple  and  the  god  who  was 
worshipped  there.  "When,  therefore,  Borsippa  was  ab- 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  71.  Aim  was  "  the  king  of  the  holy  mound,"  but 
in  M602,  14,  Lugal-girra,  who  was  identified  with  Nergal,  is  brought 
into  connection  with  it.  In  the  legend  of  the  Tower  of  Babel  (K  3657. 
ii  1),  reference  is  made  to  the  "  divine  king  of  the  holy  mound."  "  The 
king  who  comes  forth  from  the  holy  mound"  was  one  of  "the  three 
great"  or  secret  "  names  of  Arm"  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  19),  while  "  the  god 
dess  of  the  holy  mound"  was  Istar  (iii.  68,  27). 

Ill  LECTURE    II. 

sorbed  into  Babylon,  its  god  was  absorbed  at  the  same 
time;  he  became  one  of  the  triad  worshipped  by  the 
pious  Babylonian,  and  was  accounted  the  son  of  the  god 
of  the  larger  city.  But  he  still  retained  the  proud  title 
of  bilu  asaridu,  "  the  first-born  Baal  ;>J1  and  it  is  possible 
that  the  true  signification  of  the  name  of  his  sanctuary 
is  not  "the  constituted  house,"  but  " house  of  the  con 
stituted"  or  "  legitimate  son."2  Up  to  the  last,  moreover, 
Nebo  maintained  all  his  local  rights.  He  was  domesti 
cated,  it  is  true,  in  Babylon,  but  he  continued  to  be  the 
god  of  Borsippa,  and  it  was  there  that  his  true  and 
original  temple  lifted  its  tower  to  the  sky.3 

"We 'have  only  to  glance  over  the  titles  which  were 
given  to  Nebo  to  see  how  thoroughly  the  conception  of 
"the  prophet"  was  associated  with  that  of  "the  writer." 
He  is  not  only  "the  wise,"  "the  intelligent,"  "the 
creator  of  peace,"  "the  author  of  the  oracle;"4  he  is 
also  "the  creator  of  the  written  tablet,"  "the  maker  of 
writing,"  "the  opener"  and  "  enlarger  of  the  ear."5 
Assur-bani-pal  is  never  weary  of  telling  us,  at  the  end  of 
the  documents  his  scribes  had  copied  from  their  Baby 
lonian  originals,  that  "Nebo  and  Tasmit  had  given  him 
broad  ears  (and)  endowed  (him)  with  seeing  eyes,"  so  that 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  60,  30  (K  104).     Under  this  title  he  was  identified 
with  En-zag  of  Dilmun  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  66),  whose  name  occurs  in  an 
inscription  found  by  Capt.  Durand  in  the  islands  of  Bahrein  (Jrl. 
E.  A.  S.  xii.  2,  1880).    Zag,  it  seems,  signified  "  first-born"  in  the  lan 
guage  of  Dilvun.    The  proper  name  of  the  god  of  Dilvun  to  whom  the 
title  was  given  was  Pati  (K  104),  or  Wuati  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  67),  as  it 
is  also  written. 

2  See  Tiele,  De  Hoofdtempel  van  Babel  en  die  van  Borsippa  (1886), 

3  Borsippa  is  called  "  the  second  Babylon  (Din-Tir),"  K  4309,  23. 

4  W.  A.  I.  ii.  GO,  33.  5  W.  A.  I.  ii.  60.  34,  45,  44. 


he  had  "  written,  bound  together  and  published  the  store 
of  tablets,  a  work  which  none  of  the  kings  who  had  gone 
before  had  undertaken,  even  the  secrets  of  Nebo,  the  list 
of  characters  as  many  as  exist."  In  the  literary  dialect 
of  the  Semitic  epoch,  Nebo  went  by  the  Accadian  name 
of  dim-sar,  "the  scribe,"  and  the  ideograph  by  which 
he  is  sometimes  denoted  was  regarded  by  the  Semitic 
literati  as  signifying  "the  maker  of  intelligence"  and 
"the  creator  of  writing."1 

These,  however,  were  not  the  only  titles  that  Nebo 
bore.  He  was  also  "the  bond  of  the  universe,"  and 
"the  overseer  of  the  angel-hosts  of  heaven  and  earth."2 
The  latter  office  might  be  explained  as  derived  from  his 
duties  as  scribe  of  the  gods ;  but  it  is  hard  to  discover 
what  connection  there  could  be  between  the  first  title 
and  his  association  with  literature.  Light  is  thrown 
upon  it,  however,  by  the  fact  that  the  ziggurrat  or  tower 
of  his  temple  at  Borsippa  had  the  name  of  "the  house 
of  the  seven  bonds  of  heaven  and  earth."  The  seven 
"bonds"  seem  to  represent  the  seven  planets,  or  rather 
their  stations ;  the  tower  was  in  seven  stages,  and  each 
stage  was  painted  so  as  to  symbolise  the  colours  sym 
bolical  of  the  several  planets.  Nebo  must,  therefore, 
have  once  been  an  elemental  god,  or  at  all  events  a 
god  connected  with  the  chief  of  the  heavenly  bodies. 
We  know  that  Babylonian  astronomy  made  him  the 
presiding  deity  of  the  planet  Mercury,  just  as  it  mado 
Merodach  the  presiding  deity  of  Jupiter;  but  it  cannot 
have  been  in  reference  to  this  that  the  tower  of  his 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  60.  43,  45. 

A  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  60.  31,  28.     The  Accadian  equivalent  of  the  first  is 
A-ftr,  "father  of  the  bond." 


116  LECTURE   IT. 

temple  was  dedicated  to  the  seven  heavenly  spheres. 
Nebo  cannot  well  have  been  one  of  the  seven  himself  in 
the  conception  of  its  builders ;  he  must  rather  have  been 
the  universe  in  which  the  seven  spheres  were  set. 

"We  shall  thus  reach  the  true  explanation  of  the  ideo 
graph  by  which  he  was  commonly  denoted,  and  which 
has  been  translated  "  the  maker  of  wisdom,"  "the  creator 
of  writing,"  by  the  Semitic  scribes.  But  such  translations 
are  mere  glosses.  The  ideograph  signifies  nothing  more 
than  " maker"  or  "  creator,"  and  points  to  a  time  when 
the  local  god  of  Borsippa  was  something  more  than  the 
son  of  Merodach  and  the  patron  of  the  literary  class. 
He  was,  in  the  belief  of  his  worshippers  at  Borsippa,  the 
supreme  god,  the  creator  of  the  world. 

Now  there  are  traces  of  an  old  Accadian  notion  of  the 
universe  according  to  which  "the  deep"  was  a  flowing 
stream  which  surrounded  the  earth  like  the  Okeanos  of 
Homer.  It  was  sometimes  compared  to  a  snake,  some 
times  to  a  rope,  and  was  then  called  "the  rope  of  the 
great  god."  The  spirit  or  deity  who  personified  it  was 
Innina.1  (In)nina  seems  to  be  the  divinity  who  in  later 
days  was  assumed  to  have  given  a  name  to  Nineveh,  and 
the  name  is  to  be  explained  as  meaning  "  the  god  Nin," 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  45 — 49,  where  "  the  river  of  the  snake"  is  described 
as  being  also  "  the  river  of  the  rope  of  the  great  god,"  "  the  river  of  the 
great  deep,"  "  the  river  of  the  sheepcote  of  the  ghost-world,"  and  "  the 
river  of  Innina."  In  82.  8 — 16,  1,  Obu.  5,  innana  is  given  as  the  Acca 
dian  pronunciation  of  the  ideograph  denoting  "  a  goddess,"  the  initial 
syllable  being  only  a  weakening  of  the  determinative  AN,  "  divinity." 
Nina  and  Nana  are  merely  dialectic  forms  of  the  same  word,  which  in 
the  genderless  Accadian  meant  indifferently  "  lord"  and  "  lady,"  though 
more  usually  "lady."  Nina  seems  to  have  been  the  pronunciation! 
of  the  word  at  Eridu,  Nana  at  Erech.  At  all  events  Nina  was  the 
daughter  of  Ea. 

BEL-MERODACH  OF  BABYLON.          117 

or  "  the  divine  lord,"  just  as  Innana  means  "  the  goddess 
Nana,"  "  the  divine  lady."  It  will  be  remembered  that 
the  worship  of  Nana  was  associated  with  that  of  Nebo  in 
his  temple  at  Borsippa.  The  name  of  Borsippa  itself, 
moreover,  is  sometimes  written  in  a  punning  fashion  by 
the  help  of  ideographs  which  would  read  in  Accadian 
Bat-si-aabba,  "  the  fortress  of  the  horn  of  the  sea,"  as  if 
it  had  once  been  held  to  stand  on  a  "horn"  or  inlet  of 
the  Persian  Gulf.  It  is  therefore  possible  that  Innina 
may  have  been  the  primitive  Nebo  of  Borsippa,  and  that, 
like  the  Ea  of  southern  Babylonia,  he  may  have  been 
regarded  as  himself  the  great  "  deep."  If  so,  we  should 
have  an  explanation  of  his  title  "the  bond"  or  "rope  of 
the  universe,"  that  ocean-stream,  in  fact,  which  seemed 
to  bind  together  the  heavens  and  the  earth.  It  seems  to 
be  the  same  as  "the  bond"  or  "rope  of  the  world"  com 
memorated  by  Accadian  mythology  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  29,  62), 
in  curious  parallelism  to  "the  golden  cord"  of  Homer 
(IL  viii.  19),  which  Zeus  offered  to  let  the  other  gods 
hang  from  heaven  to  earth,  in  the  vain  endeavour  to  drag 
him  down  from  the  upper  end  of  it. 

How  the  old  demiurgic  god  of  Borsippa,  the  symbol- 
isation  of  the  deep  which  wound  like  a  rope  round  the 
nether  world,  became  the  prophet-god  Nebo  of  the 
Semites,  is  difficult  to  understand.  There  is  apparently 
no  connection  between  them.  The  prophet- god  of  the 
Accadians  was  Tutu,  the  setting  sun,  who  is  said  to 
"prophesy  before  the  king."  The  legends,  however, 
which  attached  themselves  to  the  name  of  Ea  show  that 
the  Accadians  associated  together  the  ideas  of  wisdom 
and  of  that  primordial  deep  of  which  the  Persian  Gulf 
was  the  visible  manifestation ;  in  so  far,  therefore,  as  the 

118  LECTURE   II. 

primitive  god  of  Borsippa  was  the  deep,  he  might  also 
have  been  considered  to  have  been  the  author  of  know 
ledge  and  intelligence.  Indeed,  as  creator  of  the  uni 
verse  he  must  have  been  credited  with  a  certain  degree 
of  wisdom. 

It  is  possible,  however,  that  the  mediation  between  the 
demiurge  of  Borsippa  and  the  Semitic  Nebo  was  due  to 
a  confusion  of  the  latter  with  an  entirely  different  god 
named  Nuzku.  Nuzku  probably  signified  in  Accadian 
"  the  brilliance  of  the  daybreak;"  at  all  events  he  was  a 
solar  deity,  one  of  whose  titles  was  "lord  of  the  zenith;" 
and  in  the  cuneiform  texts  his  name  is  often  used  to  denote 
the  zenith,  or  elat  same,  "  height  of  heaven,"  as  it  was 
called  in  Assyrian,  in  opposition  to  the  god  of  the  horizon.1 
]S~ow  the  ideograph  which  denoted  "  the  daybreak,"  and 
was  frequently  used  to  represent  the  name  of  Nuzku, 
happened  also  to  denote  a  leaf;  and  since  the  Accadians 
had  written  upon  the  leaves  and  rind  of  the  papyrus 
before  they  began  to  write  on  clay,  it  was  employed  with 
a  certain  determinative  to  denote  the  stylus  or  pen  of  the 
scribe.  Hence  Nuzku,  the  god  of  the  zenith,  became  also 
Ivhadh,  the  god  of  the  scribe's  pen. 

Nuzku,  however,  does  not  appear  to  have  belonged 
originally  to  Borsippa.  He  is  entitled  "  the  messenger" 
or  " angel  of  Mul-lil,"2  the  older  Bel;  and  it  was  only 

1  See  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  55.    The  phrase  is  frequent,  "  From  the  horizon 
(the  god  UR)  to  the  zenith  (the  god  Nuzku)."     In  ii.  54,  73,  the  god 
UR  is  identified  with  Nebo ;  hence  .Nebo  and  Nuzku  will  have  been 
regarded  as  two  different  phases  of  the  Sun-god,  Nebo  being  the  Sun 
of  the  dawn,  and  Nuzku  the  Sun  of  midday. 

2  W.A.I,  ii.   19,  56.     In  E  2.  1,  159,  5,  Nuzku  is  called  "the 
supreme  messenger  of  E-kur."     The  amalgamation  of  Nebo  and  Nuzku 

no  doubt  aided  by  the  fact  that  while  JSTuzku  was  thus  the  mes- 


wlicn  the  older  Bel  of  Nipur  became  merged  in  the 
younger  Bel-Merodach  of  Babylon,  that  Nuzku  followed 
the  fortunes  of  his  master  and  was  himself  domesticated 
in  the  city  of  the  younger  Bel.  When  the  transformation 
was  finally  completed,  three  separate  deities  found  them 
selves  united  in  the  divine  patron  of  the  literary  class.1 

"Wherever  the  literary  class  went,  Nebo  their  patron 
went  with  them.  ]N"ebo  consequently  became  less  local 
in  character  than  the  other  divinities  of  the  pantheon,  a 
result  that  was  further  encouraged  by  the  absorption  of 
his  city  of  Borsippa  into  the  larger  Babylon.  It  is  not 
surprising,  therefore,  that  Nebo  showed  a  greater  tendency 
to  migration  than  the  older  and  more  definitely  localised 
deities  of  Babylonia.  A  knowledge  of  Babylonian  letters 
and  learning  was  accompanied  by  a  knowledge  of  the 

senger  of  Mul-lil  the  older  Bel,  Nebo  was  the  prophet  and  messenger 
of  Merodach  the  younger  Bel.  The  confusion  between  the  two  Bels 
led  necessarily  to  a  confusion  between  their  two  ministers. 

1  Up  to  the  last,  however,  the  priesthood  of  Babylon  remembered 
that  Nebo  and  Nuzku  were  originally  different  divinities.  In  the  great 
temple  of  Merodach  there  was  a  separate  chapel  for  Nuzku  by  the  side 
of  the  great  tower.  Nuzku  originally  appears  to  have  come  from  Nipur, 
and  to  have  been  identified  with  Nebo  when  the  latter  came  to  share 
with  Merodach  his  solar  character.  But  originally  the  local  god  of 
Borsippa,  who  as  the  supreme  deity  of  the  place  was  worshipped  by 
the  inhabitants  as  the  creator  of  the  universe,  \vas  not  the  Sun-god, 
but  the  power  which  bound  the  universe  together.  As  this  was  the 
ocean-stream  which  encircled  the  horizon  and  was  the  home  of  the 
rising  sun,  it  was  not  difficult  to  confound  it  with  the  morning  sun. 
itself.  It  seems  strange  that  Nuzku,  the  messenger  of  "  the  lord  of  the 
ghost-world,"  and  as  such  the  morning-grey,  should  have  come  to  repre 
sent  the  zenith ;  but  the  same  transference  of  meaning  meets  us  in  the 
Assyrian  verb  ruipakhu,  which  properly  refers  to  the  rising  sun,  but 
is  also  used  of  the  zenith.  That  Nuzku,  "  who  goes  on  the  left  of  the 
companions  of  the  king,"  was  primarily  the  Fire-god  is  expressly  stat^'1 
inK170t/tei;.  5 

120  LECTURE   II. 

Babylonian  god  of  letters  and  learning.  In  Assyria, 
Nebo  was  honoured  as  much  as  he  was  in  Babylonia 
itself.  The  Assyrian  kings  and  scribes  might  be  silent 
about  the  name  of  Merodach,  but  the  name  of  Nebo  was 
continually  in  their  mouths.1  His  name  and  worship 
passed  even  to  the  distant  Semitic  tribes  of  the  west. 
The  names  of  places  in  Palestine  in  which  his  name 
occurs,  proves  that  the  god  of  prophecy  was  adored  by 
Canaanites  and  Moabites  alike.  Moses,  the  leader  and 
prophet  of  Israel,  died  on  the  peak  of  Mount  Nebo,  and 
cities  bearing  the  name  stood  within  the  borders  of  the 
tribes  of  Eeuben  and  Judah.  When  the  Israelites  entered 
upon  their  literary  era,  the  old  name  of  roeh,  or  "  seer," 
was  exchanged  for  the  more  literary  one  of  NeU,  or 
"  prophet." 

The  Semites  of  Babylonia  provided  Nebo  with  a  wife, 
Tasmitu,  "the  hearer."  She  helped  to  open  and  enlarge 
the  ears  which  received  the  divine  mysteries  her  husband's 
inspiration  enabled  his  devout  servants  to  write  down. 
The  revolution  which  transferred  the  learning  of  the 
Babylonians  from  the  Accadians  to  the  Semites,  trans 
ferred  the  patronage  of  the  literary  class  from  the  old 
god  Ea  to  his  younger  rivals  Nebo  and  Tasmit. 

I  have  dwelt  thus  long  on  the  nature  and  history  of 
the  three  deities  who  shared  together  the  great  temple 
of  Babylon,  partly  because  our  materials  in  regard  to 
them  are  less  imperfect  than  is  the  case  with  many  of 
the  other  gods,  partly  because  they  illustrate  so  well  the 
essentially  local  character  of  Babylonian  religion.  It  is 

1  In  the  prayer  to  Assur,  K  100,  Rev.  18,  Nebo  is  called  "  the  mes 
senger  of  Assur,"  who  thus  takes  the  place  of  Merodach  of  Babylon. 


this  which  gives  to  it  its  peculiar  complexion  and  fur 
nishes  the  key  to  its  interpretation.  In  so  far  as  the 
worship  of  Nebo  forms  an  exception  to  the  general  rule, 
it  is  an  exception  which  bears  out  the  old  legal  maxim 
that  the  exception  proves  the  rule.  The  worship  of  Nebo 
was  less  local  than  that  of  other  divinities,  because  he 
was  specially  worshipped  by  a  class  which  existed  in  each 
of  the  local  centres  of  the  country.  He  alone  was  the 
god  of  a  class  rather  than  of  a  locality.  Babylonian 
history  began  with  separate  cities,  and  centralisation  was 
never  carried  so  far  as  to  break  up  the  local  usages  and 
cults  that  prevailed  in  them.  In  the  eyes  of  the  people, 
the  several  deities  remained  to  the  last  a  body  of  equals, 
among  whom  the  god  of  the  imperial  city  presided,  simply 
because  he  was  the  god  of  the  imperial  city.  If  Ur  had 
taken  the  place  of  Babylon,  the  Moon-god  of  Ur  would 
have  taken  the  place  of  Bel-Merodach.  The  gods  of 
Babylonia  were  like  the  local  saints  of  Catholic  Europe, 
not  like  the  Greek  hierarchy  of  Olympus,  ruled  by  the 
despotic  nod  of  Zeus. 

The  Semites  of  Babylonia  thus  closely  resembled  their 
brother  Semites  of  Canaan  in  their  fundamental  concep 
tion  of  religion.  As  the  Canaanite  or  Phoenician  had 
"lords  many,"  the  multitudinous  Baalim  who  repre 
sented  the  particular  forms  of  the  Sun-god  worshipped  in 
each  locality,  so  too  the  gods  of  Semitic  Babylonia  were 
equally  multitudinous  and  local — Merodach,  for  example, 
being  merely  the  Bel  or  Baal  of  Babylon,  just  as  Mel- 
karth  (Melech-kiryath)  was  the  Baal  of  Tyre.  But  the 
parallelism  extends  yet  further.  "We  have  seen  that  the 
rise  of  the  prophet-god  in  Babylonia  marks  the  growing 
importance  of  literature  and  a  literary  class,  just  as  the 

122  LECTURE    II. 

beginning  of  a  literary  age  in  Israel  is  coeval  with  the 
change  of  the  seer  into  the  prophet.  Now  the  literary 
age  of  Israel  was  long  preceded  by  a  literary  age  among 
their  Phoenician  neighbours,  and  its  growth  is  contem 
poraneous  with  the  closer  relations  that  grew  up  between 
the  monarchs  of  Israel  and  Hiram  of  Tyre.  What  Israel 
was  in  this  respect  to  the  Phoenicians,  Assyria  was  to 
Babylonia.  The  Assyrians  were  a  nation  of  warriors  and 
traders  rather  than  of  students ;  their  literature  was  for 
the  most  part  an  exotic,  a  mere  imitation  of  Babylonian 
culture.  In  Babylonia,  education  was  widely  diffused ; 
in  Assyria,  it  was  confined  to  the  learned  class.  We  must 
remember,  therefore,  that  in  dealing  with  Assyrian  docu 
ments  we  are  dealing  either  with  a  foreign  importation 
or  with  the  thoughts  and  beliefs  of  a  small  and  special 

This  is  the  class  from  whom  we  have  to  gain  our  know 
ledge  of  the  form  of  religion  prevalent  in  Assyria.  It 
is  wholly  Babylonian,  with  one  important  exception. 
Supreme  over  the  old  Babylonian  pantheon  rises  the 
figure  of  a  new  god,  the  national  deity  of  Assyria,  its 
impersonation  Assur.  Assur  is  not  merely  primus  inter 
pares,  merely  the  president  of  the  divine  assembly,  like 
Merodach;  he  is  their  lord  and  master  in  another  and 
more  autocratic  sense.  Like  the  Yahveh  of  Israel,  he 
claims  to  be  "king  above  all  gods,"  that  "among  all 
gods"  there  is  none  like  unto  himself.  In  his  name  and 
through  his  help  the  Assyrian  kings  go  forth  to  conquer ; 
the  towns  they  burn,  the  men  they  slay,  the  captives 
they  take,  are  all  his  gifts.  It  is  to  destroy  "  the  enemies 
of  Assur,"  and  to  lay  their  yoke  upon  those  who  disbelieve 
in  his  name,  that  they  lead  their  armies  into  other  lands ; 


it  is  his  decrees,  his  law,  that  they  write  upon  the  monu 
ments  they  erect  in  conquered  countries.  The  gods  of 
Babylonia  are  invoked,  it  is  true ;  their  old  Babylonian 
titles  are  accorded  to  them  j  they  are  called  upon  to  curse 
the  sacrilegious  in  the  stereotyped  phrases  of  the  ancient 
literature ;  but  it  is  Assur,  and  Assur  alone,  to  whom  the 
Assyrian  monarch  turns  in  moments  of  distress;  it  is 
Assur,  and  Assur  alone,  in  whose  name  he  subdues  the 
infidel.  Only  the  goddess  Istar  finds  a  place  by  the  side 
of  Assur. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  account  for  all  this.  In  passing 
from  their  native  homes  to  Assyria,  the  Babylonian 
deities  lost  that  local  character  which  was  the  very  breath 
of  their  existence.  How  far  they  owe  their  presence  in 
Assyrian  literature  to  the  literary  class,  how  far  they  had 
been  brought  from  Babylonia  in  early  days  by  the  people 
themselves,  I  am  not  prepared  to  say.  One  fact,  however, 
is  clear ;  in  becoming  Assyrian  the  Babylonian  gods  have 
lost  both  their  definiteness  and  their  rank.  The  invocations 
addressed  to  them  lack  their  old  genuine  ring,  their  titles 
are  borrowed  from  the  literature  of  the  southern  kingdom, 
and  their  functions  are  usurped  by  the  new  god  Assur. 
It  is  almost  pitiable  to  find  Bel-Merodach  invoked,  in 
phrases  that  once  denoted  his  power  above  other  deities, 
by  the  very  kings  who  boast  of  their  conquests  over  his 
people,  or  who  even  razed  his  city  to  the  ground.  The 
Assyrian,  in  fact,  occupied  much  the  same  position  as  an 
Israelite  who,  while  recognising  the  supremacy  of  his 
national  God,  thought  it  prudent  or  cultivated  to  offer 
at  the  same  time  a  sort  of  inferior  homage  to  the  Baalim 
of  Canaan. 

At  the  outset,  Assur  was  as  much  a  purelv  local  divinity 

124  LECTURE    II. 

as  Bel-Merodach  of  Babylon.  He  was  the  god  of  Assur 
(now  Kaleh-Sherghat),  the  primitive  capital  of  the  country. 
But  several  causes  conspired  to  occasion  him  to  lose  this 
purely  local  character,  and  to  assume  in  place  of  it  a 
national  character.  The  capital  of  Assyria  was  shifted 
from  Assur  to  Nineveh,  and  the  worship  of  Assur,  instead 
of  remaining  fixed  at  Assur,  was  shifted  at  the  same  time. 
Then,  moreover,  the  importation  of  Babylonian  deities 
had  broken  the  close  connection  which  existed  in  the 
mind  of  a  Babylonian  between  the  deity  and  the  city 
where  he  was  worshipped ;  to  the  Assyrian,  Bel-Merodach 
was  no  longer  peculiarly  the  patron-god  of  Babylon ;  his 
other  attributes  came  instead  to  the  front.  Assyria, 
furthermore,  from  the  time  it  first  became  an  independent 
kingdom,  formed  an  homogeneous  whole;  it  was  not 
divided  into  separate  states,  as  was  so  often  the  case  with 
Babylonia.  A  national  feeling  was  consequently  per 
mitted  to  grow  up,  which  the  traditions  of  the  old  cities 
of  Chaldsea  and  the  frequent  conquest  of  the  country  by 
foreigners  prevented  from  developing  in  the  south.  Per 
haps,  too,  the  composite  origin  of  Assur  himself  had 
something  to  do  with  the  result. 

The  name  of  Assur  is  frequently  represented  by  a 
character  which  among  other  ideographic  values  had  that 
of  "good."  The  name  was  accordingly  explained  by 
the  Assyrians  of  the  later  historical  age  as  "the  good 
god,"  with  a  reference  perhaps  to  their  own  words  asiru, 
"righteous,"  and  asirtu,  "righteousness."  But  this  was 
not  the  original  signification  either  of  the  name  or  of  the 
character  by  which  it  was  expressed.  The  god  so  denoted 
was  one  of  the  primaeval  deities  of  Babylonian  cosmology 
who  bore  in  Accadian  the  title  of  Ana  gar  (An-sar),  "  the 

BEL-MERODACH  OF  BABYLON.          125 

god  of  the  hosts  of  heaven,"  or  simply  Sar,  "the  upper 
firmament."  It  was  believed  that  Ana  sar  was  the  male 
principle  which,  by  uniting  with  the  female  principle 
(Ana)  ki-sar,  "(the  goddess  of)  the  earth  (and)  the  hosts 
of  heaven,"  produced  the  present  world.  It  was  to  this 
old  elemental  deity  that  the  great  temple  of  E-sarra  was 
dedicated,  whose  son  was  said  to  be  the  god  Ninip  or 

A  fragment  of  Babylonian  cosmogomy  has  been  pre 
served  to  us  by  Damascius,  a  writer  of  the  sixth  century, 
who  had  access  to  older  materials  now  lost.  Here  Ana- 
sar  and  Ki-sar  are  called  'Ao-o-o>/>os  and  Kio-o-a/^,  and  we  are 
told  of  them  that  they  were  the  offspring  of  the  primaeval 
Lakhma  and  Lakhama,  and  the  progenitors  of  the  three 
supreme  gods,  Anu,  Mul-lil  and  Ea.  The  worship  of 
these  primaeval  divinities  had  been  rooted  in  Assyria 
from  an  early  period ;  probably  the  earliest  Semitic  emi 
grants  from  the  south  found  it  already  established  there. 
It  was  inevitable  that  before  long  a  confusion  should 
grow  up  between  the  name  of  the  god  An-sar  or  Assor, 
and  that  of  the  city  of  Assur  in  which  he  was  adored. 
But  the  city  of  Assur  had  nothing  to  do  with  the  god. 
The  name  seems  to  be  a  corruption  of  the  Accadian 
A-usar,  or  "water-bank,"  first  corrupted  by  its  Semitic 
inhabitants  into  Assur  and  then  into  Asur,  with  a  pos 
sible  reference  to  the  word  asurra,  "  the  bed  (of  a  river)."1 

1  The  attempt  has  been  made  to  show  that  the  names  of  the  god 
and  of  the  country  ought  to  be  distinguished  from  one  another  by 
writing  the  first  with  ss  and  the  second  with  a  single  s.  The  Assyrian?, 
however,  wrote  both  alike,  sometimes  with  ss,  sometimes  with  s;  and 
the  fact  that  the  name  of  the  country  is  often  expressed  by  attaching 
the  determinative  affix  of  locality  to  the  name  of  the  god  proves  that 
they  were  not  conscious  of  any  difference,  phonetic  or  otherwise, 

126  LECTURE    IT. 

The  confusion  between  Assor  the  god  and  Assur  the 
city  had  the  effect  of  identifying  the  god  with  his  city 
more  closely  than  could  be  the  case  with  the  divine 
patron  of  a  Babylonian  town.  The  city  of  Assur  was 
itself  a  god :  offences  against  the  city  were  offences 
against  the  god ;  the  enemies  of  the  city  were  the  enemies 
also  of  the  god.  The  instinct,  however,  of  regarding 
the  deities  they  worshipped  as  individuals,  was  too  deeply 
implanted  within  the  mind  of  the  Semites  to  allow 
either  this  fact,  or  the  further  fact  that  the  god  himself 
was  originally  a  mere  elemental  one,  to  obliterate  his 
individual  and  anthropomorphic  character.  Though  Assur 
was  the  personification  of  the  city,  he  was  also  its  Baal 
or  lord. 

The  transference  of  the  centre  of  power  from  Assur  to 
Nineveh  made  the  anthropomorphic  side  of  Assur's  nature 
still  more  prominent.  He  represented  now  the  whole 
nation  and  the  central  power  which  governed  the  nation. 
He  was  thus  the  representative  at  once  of  the  people 
and  of  the  king  in  whose  hands  the  government  of  the 
people  was  centred.  Assyria  became  "  the  land  of  the 
god  Assur,"  belonging  to  him  in  much  the  same  way  as 
the  city  of  Babylon  belonged  to  Bel-Merodach.  But 
whereas  Bel-Merodach  was  the  Baal  of  a  particular  city 
only,  Assur  was,  like  the  Yahveh  of  Israel,  the  national 
god  of  a  race. 

There  was  yet  another  respect  in  which  Assur  resem 
bled  the  Yahveh  of  Israel.  There  was  no  goddess  Assur- 
ritu  by  the  side  of  Assur,  as  there  was  an  Anatu  by  the 

between  the  two.      In  such  a  matter  we  cannot  be  wiser  than  onr 
Assyrian  teachers. 


side  of  Aim,  a  Beltis  by  the  side  of  Bel.1  If,  in  imita 
tion  of  Babylonian  usage,  Bilat  or  Beltis  is  sometimes 
addressed  as  the  consort  of  Assur,  it  is  simply  a  literary 
affectation ;  Assur  was  not  a  Bel  or  Baal,  like  Merodach. 
Bilat  is  a  Babylonian  goddess ;  she  is  properly  the  wife 
of  the  older  Bel,  in  later  times  identified  with  Zarpanit. 
There  is  no  indication  that  Assur  had  a  "face"  or  reflec 
tion  ;  he  stands  by  himself,  and  the  inspiration  received 
from  him  by  the  Assyrian  kings  is  received  from  him 
alone.  When  a  female  divinity  is  invoked  along  with 
him,  it  is  the  equally  independent  goddess  Istar  or  Ash- 

We  possess  a  list  of  the  deities  whose  images  stood  in 
the  temples  of  Assur  at  Assur  and  Nineveh.2     At  the 
head  of  each  list  the  name  of  Assur  is  thrice  invoked, 
and  once  his  name  is  followed  by  that  of  Istar.     There 
was,  in  fact,  a  special  form  of  Istar,  under  which  she  was 
worshipped  as  "the  Istar  of  Mneveh;"   but  the  form 
was  purely  local,  not  national,  arising  from  the  existence 
;liere  of  a  great  temple  dedicated  to  her.     There  was  no 
national  goddess  to  place  by  the  side  of  the  national  god. 
Assur  consequently  differs  from  the  Babylonian  gods, 
not  only  in  the  less  narrowly  local  character  that  belongs 
to  him,  but  also  in  his  solitary  nature.     He  is  "  king  of 
all  gods"  in  a  sense  in  which  none  of  the  deities  of  Baby 
lonia  were.3    He  is  like  the  king  of  Assyria  himself, 

1  If  Istar  is  sometimes  called  Assuritu,  "  the  Assyrian,"  the  adjective 
is  always  a  mere  title,  and  never  becomes  a  proper  name  (see  W.  A.  I. 
v.  1,  65).     Like  the  title  "Istar  of  Nineveh,"  it  serves  only  to  distin 
guish  the  Assyrian  Istar  from  the  Istar  of  Arbela. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iii.  66. 

3  The  following  prayer  or  hymn  (K  100)  illustrates  the  way  in  which 
the  learned  literati  of  Assur-bani-pal's  court  sought  to  make  o-0od  the 

128  LECTURE   II. 

brooking  no  rival,  allowing  neither  wife  nor  son  to  share 
in  the  honours  which  he  claims  for  himself  alone.    He  is 

deficiencies  of  their  national  god,  and  to  connect  him  with  the  deities 
of  Babylonia : 

1.  "A  prayer  to  Assur  the  king  of  the  gods,  ruler  (H)  over  heaven 

and  earth, 

2.  the  father  who  has  created  the  gods,  the  supreme  first-born  (of 

heaven  and  earth), 

3.  the  supreme  muttallu  who  (inclines)  to  counsel, 

4.  the  giver  of  the  sceptre  and  the  throne. 

5.  (To)  Nin-lil  the  wife  of  Assur,  the  begetter  (takkat),  the  crea 

tress  of  heaven  (and  earth), 

6.  who  by  the  command  of  her  mouth  .... 

7.  (To)  Sin  the  lord  of  command,  the  uplifter  of  horns,  the  spec 

tacle  of  heaven, 

8.  who  for  delivering  the  message  (has  been  appointed). 

9.  (To)  the  Sun-god,  the  great  judge  of  the  gods,  who  causes  the 

lightning  to  issue  forth, 

10.  who  to  his  brilliant  light .... 

11.  (To)  Anu  the  lord  and  prince,  possessing  the  life  of  Assur  the 

father  of  the  (great)  gods. 

12.  (To)  Eimmon  the  minister  (gugal]  of  heaven  and  earth,  the 

lord  of  the  wind  and  the  lightning  of  heaven. 

14.  (To)  Istar  the  queen  of  heaven  and  the  stars,  whose  seat  (is 


15.  (To)  Merodach  the  prince  of  the  gods,  the  interpreter  (BAR-BAR) 

of  the  spirits  of  heaven  and  (earth). 

16.  (To)  Adar  the  son  of  Mul-lil,  the  giant  (gitmalu),  the  first 

born  .... 

17.  fixed  and  .... 

18.  (To)  Nebo  the  messenger  of  ^ssur  (An-sar)  .... 

19.  (To)  Nergal  the  lord  of  might  (abari)  and  strength  (dunni)t 

who  .... 

20.  (To)  the  god  who  marches  in  front,  the  first-born  .... 

21.  (To)  the  seven  gods,  the  warrior  deities  .... 

22.  the  great  gods,  the  lords  (of  heaven  and  earth)." 

On  the  obverse,  little  of  which  is  left,  mention  is  made  of  "  the  image 
of  the  great  gods,"  "  as  many  as  (dwell)  in  the  midst  of  the  stone,"  and 
"at  the  opening  of  their  holy  mouth"  they  are  asked  to  befriend  the 
king  "himself,  his  princes  (malild),  their  name  and  their  seed." 


essentially  a  jealous  god,  and  as  such  sends  forth  his 
Assyrian  adorers  to  destroy  his  unbelieving  foes.  Wife 
less,  childless,  he  is  mightier  than  the  Babylonian  Baalim; 
less  kindly,  perhaps,  less  near  to  his  worshippers  than 
they  were,  but  more  awe-inspiring  and  more  powerful. 
We  can,  in  fact,  trace  in  him  all  the  lineaments  upon 
which,  under  other  conditions,  there  might  have  been 
built  up  as  pure  a  faith  as  that  of  the  God  of  Israel. 


IN  my  last  Lecture  I  have  been  obliged  to  some  extent 
to  anticipate  the  conclusions  to  which  a  survey  of  the 
older  literature  of  Babylonia  will  lead  us.     I  have  had 
to  refer  more  than  once  to  the  older  gods  of  the  land, 
and  to  point  out  that  the  Babylonian  deities  of  the  later 
inscriptions  are  only  in  part  of  purely  Semitic  origin,  in 
part  adaptations  of  earlier  Accadian  divinities.     They 
are  characterised,  however,  by  one  common  feature ;  they 
are  all  alike  local,  belonging  to  the  cities  where  their 
cults  were  established  as  literally  as  the  temples  in  which 
they  were  adored.    Merodach  might,  indeed,  be  invoked 
elsewhere  than  at  Babylon,  but  it  was  only  as  god  of 
Babylon  that  he  would  hear  the  prayer.     In  Assyria 
alone  we  find  another  order  of  things,  more  analogous  to 
that  which  meets  us  among  the  Israelites ;  in  Babylonia 
the  gods  are  local  Baalim  as  fully  as  they  were  in  Phoe 
nicia.     What  differences  may  have  existed  between  the 
religious  conceptions  of  the  Phoenicians  and  Babylonians 
in  this  respect  were  but  superficial,  due  mainly  to  the 
fact  that  the  Phoenician  cities  were  never  amalgamated 
into  a  single  empire,  while  Babylon  succeeded  in  impos 
ing  its  authority  upon  its  sister  towns. 

There  are  two  especially  of  the  older  gods  whose  names  | 


have  frequently  recurred.    These  are  Ea  and  the  original 
Bel.     Let  me  speak  of  Ea  first. 

Ea,  as  we  have  already  seen,  was  the  god  not  only  of 
the  deep,  but  also  of  wisdom.  Ancient  legends  affirmed 
that  the  Persian  Gulf — the  entrance  to  the  deep  or  ocean- 
stream — had  been  the  mysterious  spot  from  whence  the 
first  elements  of  culture  and  civilisation  had  been  brought 
to  Chaldeea.  Berossos,  the  Chaldean  historian — so  at 
least  his  epitomiser  Alexander  Polyhistor  declared — had 
reported  them  as  follows : 

"  At  Babylon  there  was  a  great  resort  of  people  of  various  races  who 
inhabited  Chaldaea,  arid  lived  in  a  lawless  manner  like  the  beasts  of  the 
field.  In  the  first  year  there  appeared  in  that  part  of  the  Erythraean 
sea  which  borders  upon  Babylonia,  a  creature  endowed  with  reason, 
by  name  Cannes,  whose  whole  body  (according  to  the  account  of 
Apollodoros)  was  that  of  a  fish  ;  under  the  fish's  head  he  had  another 
head,  with  feet  also  below  similar  to  those  of  a  man  subjoined  to  the 
fish's  tail.  His  voice,  too,  and  language  were  articulate  and  human ; 
and  a  representation  of  him  is  preserved  even  to  this  day. 

"  This  being  was  accustomed  to  pass  the  day  among  men,  but  took  no 
food  at  that  season  ;  and  he  gave  them  an  insight  into  letters  and 
sciences  and  arts  of  every  kind.  He  taught  them  to  construct  houses, 
to  found  temples,  to  compile  laws,  and  explained  to  them  the  principles 
of  geometrical  knowledge.  He  made  them  distinguish  the  seeds  of 
the  earth,  and  showed  them  how  to  collect  the  fruits ;  in  short,  he 
instructed  them  in  everything  which  could  tend  to  soften  manners  and 
humanise  their  lives.  From  that  time,  nothing  material  has  been 
added  by  way  of  improvement  to  his  instructions.  Now  when  the  sun 
had  set,  this  being  Cannes  used  to  retire  again  into  the  sea,  and  pass 
the  night  in  the  deep,  for  he  was  amphibious.  After  this  there  appeared 
other  animals  like  Cannes,  of  which  Berossos  proposes  to  give  an 
account  when  he  comes  to  the  history  of  the  kings.  Moreover,  Cannes 
wrote  concerning  the  generation  of  mankind,  of  their  different  ways  of 
life,  and  of  their  civil  polity."1 

1  Eusebios  (Cliron.),  Cory's  translation  :  "  The  other  animals  like 
Cannes,"  according  to  Abydenos  (ap.  Euseb.  Cliron.  i.  6,  Mai),  wero 
Annedotos  in  the  time  of  Amillaros,  the  third  antediluvian  king,  called 

K  2 

132  LECTURE    TIT. 

A  native  fragment  of  the  legend  has,  it  is  probable, 
been  accidentally  preserved  among  a  series  of  extracts 
from  various  Accadian  works,  in  a  bilingual  reading-book 
compiled  for  the  use  of  Semitic  students  of  Accadian. 
It  reads  thus : 

"  To  the  waters  their  god  has  returned ; 
into  the  house  of  (his)  repose  the  protector  descended.1 
The  wicked  weaves  spells,  but  the  sentient  one  grows  not  old. 
A  wise  people  repeated  his  wisdom. 
The  unwise  and  the  slave  (literally  person)  the  most  valued  of  his 

master  forgot  him ; 
there  was  need  of  him  and  he  restored  (his)  decrees  (?)"2 

The  exact  etymology  of  the  name  which  appears  under 

Amelon  by  Apollodoros,  Euedokos,  Eiieugamos,  Eneubulos  and  Ane- 
mentos  in  the  time  of  Daos  (?  Tammuz)  the  shepherd,  and  Anodaphos 
in  the  time  of  Euedoreskhos.  Apollodoros  makes  "the  Musaros 
Cannes,  the  Annedotos,"  appear  in  the  time  of  Ammenon  the  successor 
of  Amelon,  another  Annedotos  in  the  time  of  Daonos  the  shepherd, 
and  Odakon  in  the  time  of  Euedoreskhos.  A  comparison  of  Anodaphos 
and  Odakon  shows  the  true  reading  to  have  been  Anodakon,  i.e.  "Ann 
and  Dagon  (Dagan),"  who  are  constantly  associated  together  by  Sargon, 
and  who  says  of  them  that  he  had  "  written  the  laws  (not  "  immunitas," 
as  Winckler)  of  Harran  by  the  will  of  Anu  and  Dagon."  Annedotos 
seems  to  be  a  Greek  compound,  "given  by  Anu."  In  any  case,  some 
of  the  successors  of  Cannes  appear  to  have  been  derived  from  the 
legends  of  Erech,  the  city  of  Anu,  and  not,  like  the  original  Cannes,  from 
Eridu.  "With  the  exception  of  the  first,  who  is  made  a  Babylonian, 
the  antediluvian  kings  come  either  from  Larankha,  which,  as  we  learn 
from  the  Deluge-tablet,  is  a  corrupt  reading  for  Surippak  near  Sippara, 
or  from  Pariti-bibla,  a  Greek  translation  of  "  the  country  of  tablets"  or 
"  books,"  a  title  given  to  the  Accad  of  Sargon,  according  to  W.  A.  I. 
ii.  51,  8.  We  may  infer  from  this  that  the  whole  story  of  the  ante 
diluvian  kings  had  its  origin  at  Sippara. 

1  Iggillum  (which  does  not  signify  "  a  cry  of  woe,"  as  Jeremias  sup 
poses)  is  explained  by  natsiru,  "the  defender,"  in  W.  A.  I.  v.  28,  72. 
Magiru,  "  the  obedient  one,"  is  called  his  throne-bearer  in  W.  A.  I.  iii. 
68,  7,  where  the  Iggillum  is  identified  with  Ea. 

2  W.A.I.  ii.  16.  57—71. 


the  Greek  dress  of  Cannes  has  not  yet  been  ascertained. 
Lenorrnant  thought  that  it  represented  Ea-Jchan,  "  Ea  the 
fish."  But  whether  or  not  this  is  the  case,  it  is  certain 
that  Cannes  and  Ea  are  one  and  the  same.  Ea,  as  we 
have  seen,  not  only  had  his  home  in  the  waters  of  the 
Persian  Gulf,  he  was  also  the  culture-god  of  primitive 
Babylonia,  the  god  of  wisdom,  the  instructor  of  his 
worshippers  in  arts  and  science.  An  old  Babylonian 
sermon  on  the  duty  of  a  prince  to  administer  justice 
impartially  and  without  bribes,  declares  that  if  "he 
speaks  according  to  the  injunction  (or  writing)  of  the 
god  Ea,  the  great  gods  will  seat  him  in  wisdom  and  the 
knowledge1  of  righteousness."2  Ea  was,  moreover,  like 
Cannes,  represented  as  partly  man  and  partly  fish.  Some 
times  the  fish's  skin  is  thrown  over  the  man's  back,  the 
head  of  a  fish  appearing  behind  that  of  the  man ;  some 
times  the  body  of  the  man  is  made  to  terminate  in  the 
tail  of  a  fish.  A  gem  in  the  British  Museum,  on  which 
the  deity  is  depicted  in  the  latter  fashion,  bears  an  in 
scription  stating  that  the  figure  is  that  of  "  the  god  of 
pure  life."  Now  "the  god  of  pure  life,"  as  we  are 
expressly  informed  by  a  rubrical  gloss  to  a  hymn  in 
honour  of  the  demiurge  Ea  (Obv.  5),  was  one  of  the 
names  of  Ea. 

The  name  Ea,  which  is  transcribed  Aos  by  Damascius, 
signifies  "a  house,"  or  rather  "belonging  to  a  house."3 

1  Tndat,  to  be  distinguished  from  Tuddtu,  "  offspring,"  W.  A.  I.  ii. 
29,  69. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  55,  7.    In  a  penitential  psalm  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  61,  27), 
"  the  writing  of  Ea"  is  referred  to  as  "  giving  rest  to  the  heart." 

3  Ea  is  translated  "house,"  W.A.I,  ii.  15,  42;  iv.  16,  48.     Con 
versely  the  god  Ea  is  represented  by  (AN)  E,  "  the  god  of  the  house/' 

134  LECTURE    III. 

Ea  was  therefore  originally  the  "  house-god" — a  desig 
nation  which  it  is  difficult  to  reconcile  with  his  aquatic 
character.  Possibly  his  worship  goes  back  to  a  time 
when  the  inhabitants  of  the  coast  of  the  Persian  Gulf 
lived  in  pile-dwellings  like  those  of  Switzerland  or  the 
British  Islands;  possibly  it  belongs  to  a  later  period, 
when  the  old  marine  god  had  become  the  household 
deity  of  those  who  received  his  benefits  and  believed 
him  to  be  the  source  of  their  culture.  He  was  sym 
bolised,  it  would  seem,  by  a  serpent;1  and  to  this  day 
the  Zulus  believe  that  the  spirits  of  their  ancestors  are 
embodied  in  certain  harmless  snakes  which  frequent  their 
homes.  However  this  may  be,  the  primaeval  seat  of  the 
worship  of  Ea  was  the  city  of  Eridu,  now  represented 
by  the  mounds  of  Abu  Shahrein  on  the  eastern  bank  of 
the  Euphrates,  and  not  far  to  the  south  of  Mugheir 
or  Ur. 

Eridu  is  a  contracted  form  of  the  older  Eri-duga,  or 
"good  city,"  which  appears  in  the  non-Semitic  texts  of 
northern  Babylonia  as  Eri-zeba,  with  the  same  meaning. 
The  place  was  thus  a  peculiarly  holy  spot,  whose  sanctity 
was  established  far  and  wide  throughout  the  country. 
But  it  was  not  a  holy  city  only.  It  is  often  termed, 

in  iv.  6,  47.  This  seems  to  be  the  form  which  has  given  rise  to  the 
A-os  of  Damascius.  In  0-annes  the  initial  is  due  to  the  contraction 
of  o-a. 

1  See  above,  p.  116.  Among  the  symbols  of  the  gods  on  contract- 
stones,  the  serpent  occupies  a  prominent  place.  According  to  W.  A.  I. 
ii.  59,  21,  the  snake-god  was  Serakh,  the  god  of  corn  and  "spirit  of 
E-sara,"  whose  name  signified  "the  treading  of  corn"  (v.  17.  31,  32), 
and  who  is  called  "the  overseer"  or  "assembler  of  the  gods  of  heaven 
and  earth"  (K  4415,  Rev.  10).  On  the  other  hand,  in  an  unnumbered 
fragment  (M,  line  10),  "a  snake  in  thy  bed"  (asurra-ki)  is  invoked  as 
a  curse. 

THE    GODS    OF   BABYLONIA.  135 

more  especially  in  the  sacred  texts,  "the  lordly  city,"1 
and  we  are  told  that  one  of  its  titles  was  "  the  land  of 
the  sovereign."  In  historical  times,  however,  Eridu  had 
sunk  to  the  condition  of  a  second-rate  or  even  third-rate 
town;  its  power  must  therefore  belong  to  that  dimly 
remote  age  of  which  the  discoveries  at  Tel-loh  have 
enabled  us  to  obtain  a  few  glimpses.  There  must  have 
been  a  time  when  Eridu  held  a  foremost  rank  among 
the  cities  of  Babylonia,  and  when  it  was  the  centre  from 
which  the  ancient  culture  and  civilisation  of  the  country 
made  its  way.2 

Along  with  this  culture  went  the  worship  of  Ea,  the 
god  of  Eridu,  who  to  the  closing  days  of  the  Babylonian 
monarchy  continued  to  be  known  as  Eridiiga,  "  the  god 
of  Eridu."  At  the  period  when  the  first  elements  of 
Chaldsean  culture  were  being  fostered  in  Eridu,  the  city 
stood  at  the  mouth  of  the  Euphrates  and  on  the  edge  of 
the  Persian  Gulf.  If  the  growth  of  the  alluvium  at  the 
mouths  of  the  Euphrates  and  Tigris  has  always  been  the 
same  as  is  the  case  at  present  (about  sixty-six  feet  a  year), 
this  would  have  been  at  the  latest  about  3000  B.C.; 
but  as  the  accumulation  of  soil  has  been  more  rapid  of 
late,  the  date  would  more  probably  be  about  4000  B.C. 
Already,  therefore,  the  cult  of  Ea  would  have  been  esta 
blished,  and  the  sea-faring  traders  of  Eridu  would  have 
placed  themselves  under  his  protection. 

It  will  be  noticed  that  the  culture-myths  of  Babylonia, 

1  NUN-KI,  pronounced  Nunpe,  according  to  82.  8 — 16,  1,  Obv.  21. 
EN-KI,  another  title  of  Eridu,  means  "  land  of  the  lord." 

2  The  decay  of  Eridu  was  probably  due  to  the  increase  of  the  delta 
at  the  head  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  which  made  it  an  inland  instead  of  a 
maritime  city,  and  so  destroyed  its  trade. 

136  LECTURE   III. 

like  the  culture-myths  of  America,  bring  the  first  civiliser 
of  the  country  from  the  sea.  It  is  as  a  sea  deity  that 
Cannes  is  the  culture-hero  of  the  Chaldeeans ;  it  is  from 
the  depths  of  the  Persian  Gulf  that  he  carries  to  his 
people  the  treasures  of  art  and  science.  Two  questions 
are  raised  by  this  fact.  Was  the  culture  of  Babylonia 
imported  from  abroad ;  and  was  Ea,  its  god  of  culture, 
of  foreign  extraction  ? 

The  last  great  work  published  by  Lepsius1  was  an 
attempt  to  answer  the  first  of  these  questions  in  the 
affirmative.  He  revived  the  old  theory  of  a  mysterious 
Cushite  population  which  carried  the  civilisation  of  Egypt 
to  the  shores  of  Babylonia.  But  to  all  theories  of  this 
sort  there  is  one  conclusive  objection.  The  origin  of 
Babylonian  culture  is  so  closely  bound  up  with  the  origin 
of  the  cuneiform  system  of  writing,  that  the  two  cannot 
be  separated  from  each  other.  Between  the  hieroglyphics 
of  Egypt,  however,  and  the  primitive  pictures  out  of 
which  the  cuneiform  characters  developed,  there  is  no 
traceable  connection.  Apart  from  those  general  analogies 
which  we  find  in  all  early  civilisations,  the  script,  the 
theology  and  the  astronomy  of  Egypt  and  Babylonia 
show  no  vestiges  of  a  common  source. 

Nevertheless,  there  is  now  sufficient  evidence  to  prove 
that  at  the  very  dawn  of  the  historic  period  in  Babylonia, 
maritime  intercourse  was  being  carried  on  between  this 
country  on  the  one  hand  and  the  Sinaitic  Peninsula  and 
India  on  the  other.  The  evidence  is  as  startling  as  it  is 

The  statues  discovered  by  M.  de  Sarzec  at  Tel-loh, 

1  Introduction  to  his  Niibisclw  Grammatik  (1880). 


which  may  be  roughly  dated  about  4000  B.C.,  remind 
every  traveller  who  has  been  in  Egypt  of  the  great 
diorite  statue  of  king  Khephren,  the  builder  of  the  second 
pyramid  of  Gizeh,  which  is  now  in  the  Bulak  Museum. 
The  execution,  indeed,  is  infinitely  inferior;  but  the 
attitude,  the  pose,  the  general  effect,  and  to  a  certain 
extent  the  dress,  are  remarkably  alike.  "What  is  more, 
some  of  the  Tel-loh  statues  are  carved  out  of  hard  diorite 
stone.  Now  one  of  the  inscriptions  that  accompany  them 
affirms  that  the  stone  was  brought  from  the  land  of 
Magan ;  and  though  in  later  times  Magan  was  used  to 
denote  Lower  Egypt,  Dr.  Oppert  and  myself  have  long 
ago  pointed  out  that  originally  it  signified  the  Sinaitic 
Peninsula.  Ever  since  the  epoch  of  the  Third  Dynasty, 
Egyptian  garrisons  had  held  possession  of  the  Peninsula, 
and  Egyptian  miners  had  quarried  there ;  and  as  the  age 
of  the  fourth  Egyptian  Dynasty  corresponds  with  the 
age  which  we  must  assign  to  the  statues  of  Tel-loh,  it 
would  seem  that  as  far  back  as  six  thousand  years  ago 
stone  was  conveyed  by  sea  from  the  quarries  of  Sinai  to 
Egypt  and  Babylonia,  and  that  a  school  of  sculpture  had 
already  arisen  in  that  part  of  the  world.  "What  clinches 
the  matter  is  the  fact  observed  by  Mr.  Petrie,  that  the 
unit  of  measurement  marked  on  the  plan  of  the  city 
which  one  of  the  figures  of  Tel-loh  carries  upon  its  lap, 
is  the  same  as  the  unit  of  measurement  employed  by  the 
Pyramid  builders.1 

In  an  opposite  direction  we  may  infer  that  Chaldsean 
traders  had  also  made  their  way  to  the  western  coast  of 
India.  Apart  from  the  existence  of  teak  in  the  ruins  of 

1  Sec  above,  p.  33. 

138  LECTURE   III. 

Mugheir,  an  ancient  Babylonian  list  of  clothing  mentions 
sindhu,  or  "muslin,"  the  sadin  of  the  Old  Testament,  the 
o-ivSwv  of  the  Greeks.  That  o-n/Swi/  is  merely  "  the  Indian" 
cloth  has  long  been  recognised;  and  the  fact  that  it 
begins  with  a  sibilant  and  not  with  a  vowel,  like  our 
"  Indian,"  proves  that  it  must  have  come  to  the  west  by 
sea  and  not  by  land,  where  the  original  s  would  have 
become  h  in  Persian  mouths.1  That  sindhu  is  really  the 
same  word  as  o-ivSwv  is  shown  by  its  Accadian  equivalent, 
which  is  expressed  by  ideographs  signifying  literally 
"  vegetable  cloth." 

This  intercourse  with  other  countries,  and  the  influence 
which  a  school  of  sculpture  in  the  Sinaitic  Peninsula 
appears  to  have  exercised  upon  the  Babylonians,  must 
necessarily  have  had  much  to  do  with  the  early  develop 
ment  of  Chaldeean  culture,  even  though  it  were  indige 
nous  in  its  origin.  It  therefore  becomes  possible  that  Ea, 
the  deity  with  whom  the  introduction  of  such  a  culture 
is  associated,  may  also  have  come  from  abroad.  At  pre 
sent,  however,  there  is  no  proof  of  this,  though  it  is  quite 
possible  that  some  of  his  features  are  foreign ;  and  it  is 
even  possible  that  the  primitive  Shamanistic  worship  of 
spirits,  which,  as  we  shall  see  hereafter,  originally  cha 
racterised  the  religion  of  the  Accadians,  first  became  a 
worship  of  the  god  Ea  through  foreign  influence,  other 
spirits  afterwards  passing  into  gods  when  the  example 
had  once  been  set. 

Ea,  however,  was  not  merely  a  god  of  the  sea.  The 
Persian  Gulf,  which  formed  the  entrance  to  the  ocean- 

1  Supposing,  of  course,  that  Iranian  tribes  were  already  settled  to 
the  east  of  Babylonia.  In'W.  A.  I.  v.  28.  19,  20,  sindhu  is  explained 
to  \>Q8ipn#  Kurri,  "cloth  of  Kur,"  and  addu,  "a  veil." 

THE    GODS   OF    BABYLONIA.  139 

stream  that  encircled  the  world,  was  fed  by  the  great 
river  on  which  Eridu  stood.  Ea  accordingly  was  a  river- 
god  as  well  as  a  sea-god ;  he  is  entitled  not  only  "  the 
king  of  the  deep,"  but  "the  king  of  the  river"1  also. 
Out  of  the  mixture  of  the  two  arose  the  conception  of 
the  encircling  ocean,  and  the  further  title,  "god  of  the 
river  of  the  great  snake."2  Ea  was  thus  emphatically  a 
water-god,  the  deity  who  presided  over  the  watery  ele 
ment  wherever  it  was  found,  and  whose  home  was  in  the 
waves  of  the  Persian  Gulf. 

Ea  had  a  consort  who  was  not  at  all  like  the  Semitic 
goddesses  we  have  been  considering  in  the  last  Lecture. 
She  was  no  pale  reflexion  of  a  male  divinity,  no  Anat  or 
Beltis  or  Zarpanit,  differing  from  her  husband  only  in 
the  grammatical  suffix  of  her  name ;  but  a  genuine  and 
independent  deity,  whose  powers  were  co-extensive  with 
those  of  Ea.  She  was  known  as  Dav-kina  or  Dav-ki, 
"the  lady  of  the  earth,"  and  personified  the  earth  just  as 
Ea  personified  the  water.  Water  and  earth — these  were 
the  two  elements  out  of  which  the  old  inhabitants  of 
Eridu  believed  the  world  to  have  been  formed.  It  was 
the  theory  of  Thales  in  its  primitive  shape  *  the  water- 
god  at  Eridu  took  the  place  occupied  by  the  Sky-god  in 
other  cities  of  Babylonia.  He  was  in  fact  addressed,  not 
only  as  "lord  of  the  earth,"  but  also  as  "'lord  of  heaven 
and  earth,"  "the  master  of  all  created  things,"  "the 
ruler  of  all  the  world,"  "  the  god  of  the  universe,"  "the 
prince  of  the  zenith"  of  heaven.3  There  is  no  room  here 
for  the  Anu  or  Sky-god  of  northern  Babylonian  theology. 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  55,  23.  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  27. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  58,  No.  5. 

140  LECTURE   III. 

Not  only,  then,  the  elements  of  culture  and  civilisa 
tion,  but  the  created  universe  itself  proceeded  out  of  that 
watery  abyss,  that  "  deep,"  as  it  is  called  in  our  transla 
tion  of  the  Book  of  Genesis,  which  was  at  once  the  home 
and  the  visible  form  of  Ea.  Ea  was  the  demiurge,  and 
a  hymn  exists  in  which  he  is  addressed  as  such  under 
each  of  his  many  titles.  Thus  he  is  invoked  as  "the 
god  of  pure  life"  "who  stretches  out  the  bright  firma 
ment,  the  god  of  good  winds,  the  lord  of  hearing  and 
obedience,  creator  of  the  pure  and  the  impure,  establisher 
of  fertility,  who  brings  to  greatness  him  that  is  of  small 
estate.  In  places  difficult  of  access  we  have  smelt  his 
good  wind.  May  he  command,  may  he  glorify,  may  he 
hearken  to  his  worshippers.  0  god  of  the  pure  crown, 
moreover,  may  all  creatures  that  have  wings  and  fins  be 
strong.  Lord  of  the  pure  oracle  who  giveth  life  to  the 
dead,  who  hath  granted  forgiveness  to  the  conspiring 
gods,  hath  laid  homage  and  submission  upon  the  gods 
his  foes.  For  their  redemption  did  he  create  mankind, 
even  he  the  merciful  one  with  whom  is  life.  May  he 
establish  and  never  may  his  word  be  forgotten  in  the 
mouth  of  the  black-headed  race  (of  Sumir)  whom  his 
hands  created.  As  god  of  the  pure  incantation  may  he 
further  be  invoked,  before  whose  pure  approach  may  the 
evil  trouble  be  overthrown,  by  whose  pure  spell  the 
siege  of  the  foe  is  removed.  0  god  who  knowest  the 
heart,  who  knowest  the  hearts  of  the  gods  that  move 
his  compassion,  so  that  they  let  not  the  doing  of  evil 
come  forth  against  him,  he  who  establishes  the  assembly 
of  the  gods  (and  knows)  their  hearts,  who  subdues  the 
disobedient.  .  .  .  May  he  (determine)  the  courses  of  the 
stars  of  heaven ;  like  a  flock  may  he  order  all  the  gods. 


May  lie  exorcise  the  sea-monster  of  chaos;  her  secrets 
may  he  discover  (?)  and  destroy  for  evermore.  Mankind 
may  he  raise  to  length  of  days,  and  may  he  overthrow 
mischief  (?)  for  future  time.  Since  (their)  places  he 
created,  he  fashioned,  he  made  strong,  lord  of  the  world 
is  he  called  by  name,  even  father  Bel.  The  names  of 
the  angels1  he  gave  unto  them.  And  Ea  heard,  and  his 
liver  was  soothed,  and  he  spake  thus :  '  Since  he  has  made 
his  men  strong  by  his  name,  let  him,  like  myself,  have 
the  name  of  Ea.  May  he  bear  (to  them)  the  bond  of  all 
my  commands,  and  may  he  communicate  all  my  secret 
knowledge  through  the  fifty  names  of  the  great  gods.' 
His  fifty  names  he  has  pronounced,  his  ways  he  has 
restored;  may  they  be  observed,  and  may  he  speak  as 
formerly.  Wise  and  sentient,  may  he  rule  triumphantly. 
May  father  to  son  repeat  and  hand  them  down.  May 
he  open  the  ears  of  both  shepherd  and  flock."  2 

The  fracture  which  has  destroyed  the  middle  part  of 
the  hymn  makes  it  difficult  to  connect  together  the 
earlier  and  latter  portions  of  the  poem.  The  poet,  how 
ever,  evidently  wishes  to  show  that  the  demiurge  Bel  of 
northern  Babylonia  is  one  and  the  same  with  the  demiurge 

1  Or  "  spirits  of  heaven,"  called  Igigi  in  Assyrian,  perhaps  from  agdgu, 
"  to  be  powerful."    The  name  is  ideographically  expressed  by  the  deter 
minative  of  divinity  followed  by  "  twice  five."     Jensen,  however,  has 
shown  (Zeitschrift  fur  Assyriologie,  i.  1),  that  whereas  the  Aminaki  or 
"spirits  of  earth"  were  denoted  by  the  numeral  8  (Accadian  lisa],  the 
Igigi  were  denoted  by  the  numeral  9  (Ace.  isimu).     It  is  difficult  to 
follow  his  further  combinations,  which  would  connect  them  with  the 
ribu  of  W.  A.  I.  ii.  35,  37  (expressed  ideographically  by  AN-NUN-GAL, 
"the  great  divine  princes"),  as  well  as  with  ra'hebu,  the  Heb.  Rahab. 

2  The  text  has  been  published  by  George  Smith  in  the  Transactions 
of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archaeology,  iv.  2,  and  by  Delitzsch  in  his 
Assyrisclie  Lesestucke. 

142  LECTURE    III. 

Ea  of  the  south.  It  is  one  of  the  many  attempts  that 
were  made  in  later  days  to  harmonise  and  identify  the 
various  local  deities  of  Chaldeea  to  whom  in  different 
localities  the  same  attributes  were  assigned.  The  task 
was  rendered  easier  by  the  numerous  names,  or  rather 
titles,  which  the  several  deities  bore.  Here  Ea  is  accre 
dited  with  no  less  than  fifty — all,  too,  transferred  to  him 
from  the  other  "  great  gods ; "  and  it  is  by  a  knowledge 
of  them  that  the  secret  wisdom  of  Ea  is  communicated 
to  both  gods  and  men.  In  Babylonia,  as  in  most  primitive 
communities,  the  name  was  regarded  as  identical  with 
the  thing  which  it  signified ;  hence  the  mystic  importance 
attached  to  names  and  the  leading  part  they  played  in 
exorcisms  and  charms. 

How  a  water-god  became  the  demiurge  seems  at  first 
sight  obscure.  But  it  ceases  to  be  so  when  we  remember 
the  local  character  of  Babylonian  religion.  Ea  was  as 
much  the  local  god  of  Eridu  as  Merodach  was  of  Baby 
lon,  or  Assur  of  Assyria.  His  connection  with  the  water 
was  due  to  the  position  of  Eridu  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Euphrates  and  on  the  shore  of  the  sea,  as  well  as  to  the 
maritime  habits  of  its  population.  In  other  respects  he 
occupied  the  same  place  as  the  patron-deities  of  the  other 
great  cities.  And  these  patron- deities  were  regarded  as 
creators,  as  those  by  whose  agency  the  present  world 
had  come  into  existence,  and  by  whose  hands  the  ancestors 
of  their  worshippers  had  been  made. 

This  conception  of  a  creating  deity  is  one  of  the  dis 
tinguishing  features  of  early  Babylonian  religion.  Man 
kind  are  not  descended  from  a  particular  divinity,  as 
they  are  in  other  theologies ;  they  are  created  by  him. 
The  hymn  to  Ea  tells  us  that  the  god  of  Eridu  was  the 

THE    GODS   OF    BABYLONIA.  143 

creator  of  the  black-headed  race — that  is  to  say,  tha  old 
non-Semitic  population  whose  primary  centre  and  start 
ing-point  was  in  Eridu  itself.  It  was  as  creators  that 
the  Accadian  gods  were  distinguished  from  the  host  of 
spirits  of  whom  I  shall  have  to  speak  in  another  Lecture. 
The  Accadian  word  for  "  god"  was  dimer,  which  appears 
as  dingir,  from  an  older  dingira,  in  the  southern  dialect  of 
Sumer.  Now  dimer  or  dingir  is  merely  "the  creator," 
formed  by  the  suffix  r  or  ra,  from  the  verb  dingi  or  dime, 
"to  create."  A  simpler  form  of  dimer  is  dime,  a  general 
name  for  the  divine  hierarchy.  By  the  side  of  dime,  dim, 
stood  ffime,  gim,  with  the  same  meaning ;  and  from  this 
verb  came  the  Sumerian  name  of  Istar,  Gingira.1  Istar 
is  said  to  have  been  the  mother  of  mankind  in  the  story 
of  the  Deluge,  and  as  Gula,  "the  great"  goddess,  she  is 
addressed  in  a  prayer  as  "  the  mother  who  has  borne  the 
men  with  the  black  heads."2  It  was  in  consequence  of 
the  fact  that  he  was  a  creator  that  Ea  was,  according  to 
Accado-Sumerian  ideas,  a  dingir  or  "god." 

In  the  cosmology  of  Eridu,  therefore,  the  origin  of 
the  universe  was  the  watery  abyss.  The  earth  lay  upon 
this  like  a  wife  in  the  arms  of  her  husband,  and  Dav-kina 
accordingly  was  adored  as  the  wife  of  Ea.  It  was  through 

1  W.A.I,  ii.  48,  29.     There  was  another  dimme,  or  more  properly 
dimma,  meaning  "  weak,"  the  Assyrian  tarpu,  from  rapu  (W.  A.  I.  v. 
29,  71).     Tarpu  is  the  Hebrew  t&raphim,  which,  as  Dr.  Neubauer  has 
pointed  out,  must  be  connected  with  the  Eephaim,  or  "  shades  of  the 
dead,"  and  hence  "  prehistoric  people,"  and  signify  the  images  of  dead 
ancestors.     Dimma,  "  weak,"  being  confounded  with  dimme,  "  creator," 
by  the  Semites,  caused   the  ideograph  which  denotes  "a  spirit"  to 
acquire  the  (Assyrian)  value  of  rap,  from  rappu,  a  synonym  ofkatsutu, 
"the  shade  of  the  dead." 

2  W.A.I.  iv.  61.  27. 

144  LECTURE   III. 

her  that  the  oracles  of  Ea,  heard  in  the  voice  of  the  waves, 
were  communicated  to  man.  Dav-kina  is  entitled  "  the 
mistress  of  the  oracular  voice  of  the  deep,"  and  also  "  the 
lady  who  creates  the  oracular  voice  of  heaven."1  The 
oracles  delivered  by  the  thunder,  the  voice  of  heaven, 
thus  became  the  reflex  of  the  oracles  delivered  through 
the  roaring  of  the  sea. 

We  may  see  here  an  allusion  to  the  doctrine  of  a 
watery  abyss  above  the  sky,  of  "the  waters  above  the 
firmament,"  that  is,  of  which  we  read  in  Genesis.  The 
sky  must  have  been  looked  upon  as  but  another  earth 
which  floated  on  the  surface  of  an  ocean-stream  just  as 
did  the  nether  earth  itself.  Hence  in  the  theology  of 
Eridu  there  was  no  room  for  a  god  of  the  sky.  The 
visible  sky  was  only  Dav-kina  in  another  form. 

"We  can  now  understand  why  it  was  that  in  the  theo 
logy  of  Eridu  the  Sun-god  was  the  offspring  of  Ea  and 
Dav-kina.  The  name  that  he  bore  there  was  Dumuzi  or 
Tammuz,  "the  only-begotten  one,"  of  whom  I  shall  have 
much  to  say  in  the  next  Lecture.  At  present  I  need 
only  remark  that  he  was  the  primaeval  Merodach ;  the 
Sun-god  born  of  Ea  who  was  called  Merodach  by  the 
Babylonians  was  called  Tammuz  (Dumuzi)  by  the  people 
of  Eridu.  Perhaps  Merodach  is  after  all  nothing  more 
than  "the  god  from  Eridu."  That  he  came  originally 
from  Eridu  we  have  already  seen. 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  55.  56,  59.  Perhaps  the  latter  title  should  rather  be 
rendered  "the  lady  of  heaven  whence  the  oracular  voice  is  created." 
In  line  55,  me-te,  which  is  usually  the  equivalent  offimatu, (<  ornament," 
takes  the  place  of  me,  just  as  in  K  4245,  Rev.  4,  5,  where  (AN)  me  sag-I* 
and  me-te-sag-L  follow  one  another,  sag  being  explained  by  ristu  and 
pani,  L  by  the  god  Mul-lil,  and  AN  me  sag  by  NIB. 


The  author  of  the  hymn  to  the  demiurge  identifies 
Ea  with  " father  Bel."  As  "the  lord  of  heaven  and 
earth,"  Ea  was  indeed  a  Baal  or  Bel  to  the  Semites,  to 
whose  age  the  hymn  belongs.  But  the  particular  Bel 
with  whom  the  poet  wishes  to  identify  him  was  Mul-lil, 
the  supreme  god  and  demiurge  of  Mpur  (the  modern 
Mffer).  In  a  list  of  the  titles  of  Ea,  we  find  it  expressly 
stated  that  he  is  one  with  "  Mul-lil  the  strong."1  But 
such  an  identification  belongs  to  the  later  imperial  age 
of  Babylonian  history.  Mul-lil  was  primitively  a  purely 
local  divinity,  standing  in  the  same  relation  to  his  wor 
shippers  at  Nipur  that  Ea  stood  to  his  at  Eridu. 

Mul-lil  signifies  "the  lord  of  the  ghost- world."  Lil 
was  an  Accado-Sumerian  word  which  properly  denoted 
"a  dust-storm"  or  "cloud  of  dust,"  but  was  also  applied 
to  ghosts,  whose  food  was  supposed  to  be  the  dust  of 
the  earth,  and  whose  form  was  like  that  of  a  dust-cloud. 
The  Accadian  language  possessed  no  distinction  of  gender, 
and  lil  therefore  served  to  represent  both  male  and  female 
ghosts.  It  was,  however,  borrowed  by  the  Semites  under 
the  form  of  Ullum,  and  to  this  masculine  they  naturally 
added  the  feminine  lilatu.  Originally  this  lilatu  repre 
sented  what  the  Accadians  termed  "the  handmaid  of 
the  ghost"  (Jcel-litta)^  of  whom  it  was  said  that  the  III 
had  neither  husband  nor  wife ; 3  but  before  long  lilatu 
was  confounded  with  the  Semitic  lildtu,  "  the  night," 
and  so  became  a  word  of  terror,  denoting  the  night-demon 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  55,  20. 

2  In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  16.  19-20,  the  Assyrian  has  "servant  of  the  ghost" 
(ardat  li\li~\)  for  the  Accadian  /del  tida-ltdra,  "servant  of  the  light- 
coverer,"  while  Idel  lilla  is  rendered  by  lilatu. 

3  W.A.I,  ii.  17,  30. 


146  LECTURE    III. 

who  sucked  the  blood  of  her  sleeping  victims.  In  the 
legend  of  the  Descent  of  Istar  into  Hades,  the  goddess  is 
made  to  threaten  that  unless  she  is  admitted  to  the  realm 
of  the  dead  she  will  let  them  out  in  the  form  of  vampires 
to  devour  the  living.  From  the  Semitic  Babylonians 
the  name  and  conception  of  Lilatu  passed  to  the  Jews, 
and  in  the  book  of  Isaiah  (xxxiv.  14)  the  picture  of 
the  ghastly  desolation  which  should  befall  Iduma3a  is 
heightened  by  its  ruined  mounds  being  made  the  haunt 
of  Lilith.  According  to  the  Eabbis,  Lilith  had  been 
the  first  wife  of  Adam,  and  had  the  form  of  a  beautiful 
woman;  but  she  lived  on  the  blood  of  children  whom 
she  slew  at  night. 

The  "lord  of  the  ghost- world"  extended  his  sway 
over  this  nether  earth  also.  He  is  therefore  entitled 
"the  lord  of  the  world,"  as  well  as  "king  of  all  the 
spirits  of  the  earth."1  According  to  one  version  of  the 
story  of  the  Deluge,  it  was  he  who  caused  the  waters  of 
the  flood  to  descend  from  heaven,  and  who  designed 
the  destruction  of  all  mankind.  "When  Mul-lil/'  we 
are  told,  "  approached  and  saw  the  ship  (of  Xisuthros), 
he  stood  still  and  was  filled  with  wrath  against  the  gods 
and  the  spirits  of  heaven.2  '  What  soul  has  escaped  there 
from  ? '  (he  cried).  t  Let  no  man  remain  alive  in  the 
great  destruction.' '  It  was  then  that  Ea  came  forward 
with  words  of  wisdom,  and  protested  against  this  attempt 
of  Mul-lil  to  confound  the  innocent  with  the  guilty. 

1  W.  A.  I.  i.  9,  3. 

2  We  seem  to  have  here  a  mythological  reminiscence  of  the  fact  that 
Mul-lil  had  originally  been  the  god  of  the  lower  world  and  its  hosts  of 
spirits,  and  that  he  was  consequently  in  opposition  to  the  gods  of  light 
and  the  spirits  of  the  upper  air. 


"Let  the  sinner  alone  bear  his  sin;  let  the  evil-doer 
bear  his  own  iniquity."  And  though  the  wrathful  god 
was  pacified,  so  that  Xisuthros  and  his  companions  were 
allowed  to  escape  from  their  threatened  death,  the  rescued 
hero  did  not  forget  the  evil  intentions  of  Mul-lil;  but 
when  inviting  the  other  gods  to  his  sacrifice  after  his 
descent  from  the  ark,  he  specially  excepted  the  god  of 
Nipur.  "Let  the  (other)  gods  come  to  my  altar,  but 
let  Mul-lil  not  come  to  the  altar,  since  he  did  not  act 
considerately,  but  caused  a  deluge  and  doomed  my  people 
to  destruction." 

In  these  quotations  I  have  called  the  god  by  his  old 
Accadian  name,  Mul-lil.1  But  long  before  this  account 
of  the  Deluge  was  composed,  even  though  in  its  present 
form  it  probably  reaches  back  more  than  2000  years 
before  the  Christian  era,  the  Accadian  Mul-lil  had  become 
the  Semitic  Bel.  His  primitive  attributes,  however,  still 
adhered  to  him.  He  was  still  the  god  of  the  lower 
world,  whose  messengers  were  diseases  and  nightmares 
and  the  demons  of  night,  and  from  whom  came  the 
plagues  and  troubles  that  oppressed  mankind.  In  a 
magical  text  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  1.  5,  6),  Namtar,  the  plague- 
demon,  is  called  "'the  beloved  son  of  Mul-lil" — standing, 
in  fact,  in  the  same  relation  to  Mul-lil  that  Tammuz  does 
to  Ea,  and  in  the  next  line  Mul-lil's  wife  is  asserted  to 
be  Nin-ki-gal  or  Allat,  "the  queen  of  the  mighty  land" 
of  Hades. 

This  magical  text,  however,  is  a  good  deal  older  than 

1  Mul-lil  was  also  known  as  En-lil  in  one  of  the  Accado-Sumerian 
dialects.  En-lil  was  contracted  into  Illil  according  to  W.  A.  I.  v.  37,  21, 
which  explains  the  "I/VAii/os  of  Damascius  (for  which  we  should  read 


148  LECTURE   III. 

the  time  when  the  Semites  adopted  and  transformed  the 
deities  of  the  Accadians,  or  at  all  events  it  expresses  the 
ideas  of  that  earlier  period.  "When  the  god  of  Nipur 
became  Semitic,  his  character  underwent  a  change.  As  the 
supreme  deity  of  the  state  he  was  necessarily  a  Baal,  but 
the  Semitic  Baal  embodied  very  different  conceptions  from 
those  which  were  associated  with  the  Accadian  Mul-lil. 
It  is  true  that,  as  I  have  just  pointed  out,  his  primitive 
attributes  still  clung  to  him,  but  they  were  superadded 
to  other  attributes  which  showed  him  to  be  the  supreme 
Sun-god  of  Semitic  worship.  That  supreme  Sun-god, 
however,  revealed  himself  to  his  worshippers  under  two 
aspects ;  he  might  be  either  the  beneficent  god  who  gave 
life  and  light  to  the  world,  or  he  might  be  the  fierce  and 
wrathful  sun  of  summer  who  scorches  all  nature  with  his 
heat,  and  sinks  at  night,  like  a  ball  of  glowing  metal,  into 
the  darkness  of  the  under-world.  Necessarily  it  was 
rather  under  the  latter  aspect  that  the  Mul-lil  of  Mpur 
became  the  Semitic  Bel. 

This  is  the  Bel  whose  cult  was  carried  to  Assyria,  and 
whose  name  is  mentioned  frequently  in  the  inscriptions 
of  Nineveh,  where  among  other  titles  he  bears  that  of 
"father  of  the  gods."  This  is  a  title  which  he  received, 
not  in  virtue  of  his  primitive  character,  but  because  he 
had  become  the  Semitic  Bel.  He  was  distinguished  from 
the  younger  Bel  of  Babylon,  Bel-Merodach,  as  BeAcrai/as 
or  BoXaOfy  (Bel-ethan\  "the  older  Baal,"1  when  Babylon 
became  the  imperial  city,  and  its  Bel  claimed  to  be  the 
father  and  head  of  the  Babylonian  gods.  But  the  dis- 

1  Comp.  Baudissin,  Studicn  zur  semitisclien  Relifjlonsgescliichte,  i. 
p.  274.  A  god  Bd-labnru,  "  the  older  Bel,"  is  mentioned  in  the  inscrip 
tions  of  Assyria,  who  may  be  a  form  of  Mul-lil. 


tinction,  as  might  be  expected,  was  not  always  observed, 
and  the  older  and  younger  Bel  are  sometimes  confounded 

The  confusion  was  rendered  the  more  easy  by  the  fact 
that  the  wife  of  the  Bel  of  Mpur  was  addressed  as  Bilat, 
and  thus  was  undistinguished  in  name  from  Beltis  of 
Babylon.  But  she  was  in  reality,  as  we  have  seen,  the 
queen  of  Hades,  Mn-ki-gal  as  the  Accadians  called  her, 
or  Allat  as  she  is  named  in  the  Semitic  texts.1  Allat  is 
interpreted  "the  unwearied;"2  like  the  Homeric  epithet 
of  Hades,  aSa/zao-ros,  "  the  inflexible"  divinity  who  ceases 
not  to  deal  on  all  sides  his  fatal  blows.  Her  proper  title, 
however — that,  at  least,  under  which  she  had  originally 
been  known  at  Mpur — was  Mn-lil,  "the  lady  of  the 
ghost-world."3  It  is  under  this  name  that  Assur-bani- 
pal  addresses  her  (W.A.I,  ii.  66)  as  "the  mistress  of 
the  world,  whose  habitation  is  the  temple  of  the  library" 
(i.e.  the  temple  of  Istar  at  Mneveh).4  As  Allat,  the 

1  In  a  magical  text  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  18,  40)  ISTin-ki-gal  is  called  the  wife 
of  Mn-azu ;  but  that  Nin-azu  is  merely  a  title  of  Mul-lil  is  shown  by 
W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  51,  where  "  the  star  of  Nin-azu"  is  identified  with  Adar. 
In  W.  A.  L  ii.  59,  35,  the  wife  of  Mn-azu  is  termed  Mn-NER-DA. 

2  K204,  ii.  9,  allattum  =  nu-kusu.  3  W.A.I,  ii.  19.  6. 

4  E-barbar;  see  W.  A.  I.  iii.  3,  40.  For  the  meaning  of  barbar,  "a 
library,"  cp.  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  26.  The  word  is  a  re-duplicated  form  of 
bar  or  bdra,  "to  reveal,"  hence  used  in  the  senses  of  "  white"  (W.A.I, 
iv.  21,  5)  or  "visible"  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  6,  46),  and  "an  oracle"  (W.  A.  I. 
iv.  19,  48).  The  compound  ideograph  BAR-BAR  is  interpreted  tabbak 
rimka,  "the  outpouring  of  a  libation,"  in  S  924,  7,  and  Km.  2.  11. 
149,  4,  and  mdni,  "a  hero,"  in  W.  A.  L  iv.  21.  30,  32.  With  the 
latter  signification  it  was  read  mas-mas,  which  is  a  title  of  Merodach 
(K  100, 15,  K  48,  Obv.  18).  Since,  however,  Merodach  is  called  "  the 
lord  of  BAR-BAR-^'"  in  K  2546,  Rev.  1,  it  is  clear  that  the  two  senses 
of  the  compound  ideograph  were  played  upon,  as  the  reading  here 
must  be  sijp-ti,  "  an  oracle."  Between  the  time  of  Sennacherib  and 

150  LECTURE    III. 

goddess  of  Hades,  she  was  a  much-dreaded  and  formida 
ble  figure,  who  is  described  iu  the  legend  of  the  Descent 
of  Istar  as  inflicting  upon  her  sister-goddess  all  the  pains 
and  diseases  which  emanated  from  her  demoniac  satellites. 
The  unfortunate  Istar,  stripped  of  her  clothing  and  adorn 
ments,  is  held  up  to  the  scorn  of  the  lower  world ;  and 
Namtar,  the  plague-demon,  is  ordered  by  Allat  to  smite 
her  with  maladies  in  the  eyes,  in  the  sides,  in  the  feet, 
in  the  heart,  in  the  head,  and,  in  short,  in  all  the  limbs. 
Throughout  the  legend  Namtar  appears  as  the  messenger 
of  the  infernal  queen. 

It  is  thus  clear  that,  just  as  Eridu  in  southern  Baby 
lonia  was  the  primitive  seat  of  the  worship  of  the  Chal- 
drean  culture-god  and  of  the  civilisation  with  which  his 
name  was  connected,  Nipur  in  northern  Babylonia  was 
the  original  home  of  a  very  different  kind  of  worship, 
which  concerned  itself  with  ghosts  and  demons  and  the 
various  monsters  of  the  under-world.  It  was,  in  fact, 
the  home  of  that  belief  in  magic,  and  in  the  various 
spirits  exorcised  by  the  magician,  which  left  so  deep  an 
impression  upon  the  religion  of  early  Babylonia,  and 
about  which  I  shall  have  to  speak  in  a  future  Lecture. 
The  analogy  of  Eridu  would  lead  us  to  infer,  moreover, 
that  it  was  not  only  the  home  of  this  belief,  but  also  the 
source  from  which  it  made  its  way  to  other  parts  of  the 
country.  In  the  pre-historic  age,  Eridu  in  the  south 
and  Nipur  in  the  north  would  have  been  the  two  religious 
centres  of  Babylonian  theology,  from  whence  two  wholly 
different  streams  of  religious  thought  and  influence  spread 

tAssur-bani-pal,  the  library  of  Nineveh  seems  to  have  "been  transferred 
from,  the  temple  of  Istar  to  that  of  Nubo ;  see  above;  p.  9. 


and  eventually  blended.  The  mixture  formed  what  I 
may  call  the  established  religion  of  Chaldsea  in  the  pre- 
Semitic  period. 

That  this  conclusion  is  not  a  mere  inference  is  shown 
by  the  monuments  discovered  at  Tel-loh.  Tel-loh  was 
geographically  nearer  to  Eridu  than  to  Nipur,  and  its 
theology  might  therefore  be  expected  to  be  more  largely 
influenced  by  that  of  Eridu  than  by  that  of  Nipur.  And 
such,  indeed,  is  the  case.  Temples  and  statues  are 
dedicated  to  Ea,  "the  king  of  Eridu,"  and  more  espe 
cially  to  Bahu,  a  goddess  who  occupied  a  conspicuous 
place  in  the  cosmological  legends  of  Eridu.  But  Mul-lil, 
the  god  of  Mpur,  appears  far  more  frequently  in  the 
inscriptions  of  Tel-loh  than  we  should  have  anticipated. 
Mn-kharsak,  "the  mistress  of  the  mountain,"  and  "mo 
ther  of  the  gods,"  in  whom  we  may  see  a  local  divi 
nity,  is  associated  with  him  as  wife ;  and  Nin-girsu  him 
self,  the  patron  god  of  Tel-loh,  is  made  his  "hero"  or 
"  champion."  So  close,  indeed,  is  the  connection  of  the 
latter  with  Mul-lil,  that  the  compilers  of  the  mythological 
tablets,  in  a  latter  age,  identified  him  with  the  "  warrior" 
god  of  Nipur,  Adar  the  son  of  Mul-lil. 

Adar,  or  Ninep,  or  Uras — for  his  name  has  been  read 
in  these  various  fashions,  and  the  true  reading  still  remains 
unknown1 — played  a  conspicuous  part  in  Babylonian,  and 

1  The  only  form  out  of  these  three  which  is  monumentally  esta 
blished  is  Uras.  Uras  is  given  as  the  pronunciation  of  the  second 
ideograph  in  the  name  of  the  god  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  70,  203 — 207,  ii.  54, 
34) ;  and  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  31,  Uras  is  expressly  stated  to  be  the  name 
of  NIN-IP,  as  "god  of  light"  (uddaiie,  see  ii.  62,  36,  where  there  is  a 
play  on  the  Assyrian  bar  a,  "fat,"  and  baru,  "to  reveal").  From  uras 
the  Assyrians  borrowed  their  urasu,  "a  mourning  veil"  (v.  28,  60). 
Ir  and  NIN-IP  were  two  primaeval  deities  who  in  Accadian  cosmology 

152  LECTUEE    III. 

more  especially  Assyrian  theology.  He  was  regarded 
as  emphatically  the  warrior  and  champion  of  the  gods, 
and  as  such  was  naturally  a  favourite  object  of  worship 
amongst  a  nation  of  warriors  like  the  Assyrians.  Indeed, 
it  may  be  suspected  that  the  extent  to  which  the  name 
of  the  older  Bel  was  reverenced  in  Assyria  was  in  some 
measure  due  to  the  favour  in  which  his  son  Adar  was 
held.  In  the  inscriptions  of  Mneveh,  the  title  of  "  hero- 
god"  (masu)  is  applied  to  him  with  peculiar  frequency; 
this  was  the  characteristic  upon  which  the  Assyrian 
kings  more  particularly  loved  to  dwell.  In  Babylonia, 
on  the  other  hand,  Adar  was  by  no  means  so  favourite  a 
divinity.  Here  it  was  the  milder  and  less  warlike  Mero- 
dach  that  took  his  place.  The  arts  of  peace,  rather  than 
those  of  war,  found  favour  among  the  Semitic  population 
of  the  southern  kingdom. 

Originally,  like  Merodach,  Adar  had  been  a  solar  deity. 
We  are  distinctly  told  that  he  was  "  the  meridian  sun,"1 
whose  scorching  heats  represented  the  fiercer  side  of  Baal- 
worship.  But  whereas  Merodach  was  the  sun  conceived 
of  as  rising  from  the  ocean-stream,  Adar  was  the  sun 

represented  the  male  and  female  principles,  but  the  genderless  character 
of  the  Accadian  nin,  "lord"  or  "lady,"  caused  the  Semites  to  change 
NIN-IP  into  a  god  and  identify  him  with  IP,  that  is,  "Anu  who  listens 
to  prayer"  (ii.  54,  35).  As  u  signified  "lord"  in  Accadian,  it  would 
seem  that  they  further  identified  the  first  syllable  of  U-ras  with  the 
nin  of  Nin-Uras.  Hence  "  the  Assyrian  king,"  Horus  of  Pliny  (N.  H. 
xxx.  51,  cp.  xxxvii.  52),  who  discovered  a  cure  for  drunkenness,  as 
well  as  the  Thouras  of  Kedrenos  (Hist.  15,  16,  cp.  Suidas  and  the 
Paschal  Chron.  p.  68),  who  is  called  the  Assyrian  Ares  and  made  the 
son  of  Zames  or  Samas.  The  reading  Adar  is  derived  from  the  Biblical 
Adrammelech,  but  it  is  quite  certain  that  it  is  false,  and  I  have  retained 
it  in  the  text  only  on  account  of  its  employment  by  other  Assyriologists. 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57.  51,  76  (where  he  is  identified  with  Manner). 


who  issues  forth  from  the  shades  of  night.  His  wife 
accordingly  is  "the  lady  of  the  dawn."1  Like  all  solar 
deities  in  Babylonia,  an  oracle  was  attached  to  his  shrine. 
His  name  is  explained  to  mean  "  the  lord  of  the  oracle,"2 
and  one  of  his  titles  was  "the  voice"  or  "oracle  supreme."  3 
It  was  on  this  account  that  later  mythologists  identified 
him  with  Nebo,4  though  between  the  Sun-god  of  Mpur 
and  the  prophet- deity  of  Borsippa  there  was  originally 
no  sort  of  connection.  On  the  other  hand,  it  must  have 
been  his  solar  character  that  gave  rise  to  the  two  curious 
titles  of  "lord  of  the  date"5  and  "lord  of  the  pig."6 
The  latter  title  was  naturally  dropped  in  the  Semitic 
period  of  Chaldeean  history. 

Adar  bears  the  same  relation  to  Mul-lil  that  Merodach 
bears  to  Ea.    Each  alike  is  the  son  and  messenger  of  the 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  59,  10. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  17.     It  is  clear  that  the  compiler  of  the  mytho 
logical  list  here  interpreted  ~baru>  the  equivalent  of  uras,  in  the  sense 
of  "  a  revelation"  or  "  oracle,"  and  read  his  title  in  Assyria  not  as  Masu, 
"  a  hero,"  but  as  Baru,  "  the  oracular  god."     It  illustrates  the  same 
play  upon  the  ideographic  writing  of  the  god's  name  as  that  which  we 
hnd  in  BAR-BAR  or  MAS-MAS  for  Merodach. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  26.  4  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  18. 

5  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  28. 

6  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  39.    In  K  161,  i.  8,  one  of  the  remedies  prescribed 
for  disease  of  the  heart  is  siru  AN  Nin-pes,  "  swine's  flesh."     Rimmon, 
when  worshipped  as  Matu  (Martu),  was  also  known  as  khumuntsir, 
the  Accadised  form  of  the  Semitic  Jchumtsiru,  "  a  pig"  (W.  A.  I.  iii. 
68,  70).     The  title  "  lord  of  the  pig"  connects  Adar  with  the  Ares  of 
Greek  mythology,  who  in  the  form  of  the  wild  boar  slew  the  Sun-god 
Tammuzj  while  the  title  "lord  of  the  date" — the  chief  fruit  of  Baby 
lonia — reminds  us  of  Cain,  who  was  "  a  tiller  of  the  ground."     Under 
the  name  of  Baru,  Adar  was  identified  with  iron,  since  the  name  of 
"  iron"  was  denoted  in  Accadian  by  bar,  "  the  shining"  (see  W.  A.  I.  v. 
30,  52),  which  was  written  with  the  determinative  of  divinity,  indica 
tive  of  the  meteoric  origin  of  the  first  iron  worked  in  Babylonia. 

154  LECTURE   III. 

older  god.  But  whereas  the  errands  upon  which  Mero- 
dach  is  sent  are  errands  of  mercy  and  benevolence,  the 
errands  of  Adar  are  those  that  befit  an  implacable  war 
rior.  He  contends  not  against  the  powers  of  darkness, 
like  Merodach,  for  the  father  whose  orders  he  obeys  is 
himself  the  ruler  of  the  powers  of  darkness ;  it  is  against 
mankind,  as  in  the  story  of  the  Deluge,  that  his  arms  are 
directed.  He  is  a  solar  hero  who  belongs  to  the  darkness 
and  not  to  the  light. 

It  is  thus  that  one  of  his  brothers  is  "the  first-born" 
of  Mul-lil,  Mul-nugi,  "  the  lord  from  whom  there  is  no 
return."1  Mul-nugi  is  the  lord  of  Hades,  the  god  who 
is  called  Irkalla  in  the  legend  of  the  Descent  of  Istar, 
and  out  of  whose  hands  there  is  no  escape.  It  may  be 
that  he  is  but  another  form  of  the  Moon-god,  since  the 
Moon-god,  we  are  told,  was  also  the  eldest  son  of  Mul-lil. 
But  the  name  by  which  the  Moon-god  went  at  Mpur 
was  one  that  signified  "the  god  of  glowing  fire."2  It  is 
curious  to  find  the  mythologists  identifying  this  "god 
of  glowing  fire"  with  Adar;  but  the  error  was  natural; 
both  alike  were  sons  of  Mul-lil,  and  both  alike  represented 
the  great  orbs  of  heaven. 

1  See  the  Deluge-tablet,  col.  i.  1.  17.     In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  7,  he  is 
called  "  the  throne-bearer  of  Mul-lilla,"  and  he  would  therefore  seem  to 
have  been  one  of  "the  throne-bearers"  of  the  Deluge-tablet  (col.  ii.  45) 
who  "  went  over  mountain  and  plain"  carrying  destruction  with  them. 
Irkalla  seems  to  be  a  Semitic  form  of  a  Proto-Chaldsean  word.    In 
W.A.I,  v.  16,  80,  irJfcdlum  is  the  rendering  of  the  Accadian  kesda, 
"an  enclosure"  (comp.  ii.  29,  63) ;  and  since  the  queen  of  Hades  was 
known  as  Nin-ki-gal,  "  the  lady  of  the  great  country,"  while  uru-gal  or 
ert-galy  "  the  great  city,"  was  the  Accadian  designation  of  Hades  or  the 
tomb  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  1.  191;  30.  13),  it  is  possible  that  Irkalla  represents 
an  earlier  Eri-galla. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  56. 

THE    GODS    OF    BABYLONIA.  155 

The  chief  scat,  however,  of  the  worship  of  the  Moon- 
god  was  not  Mpur  but  Ur  (the  modern  Mugheir).  Here 
stood  the  great  temple  the  ruins  of  which  were  partially 
explored  by  Loftus.  Already  in  the  oldest  documents 
that  have  come  from  thence,  the  god  to  whom  the  temple 
was  consecrated  is  identified  with  the  Moon-god  of  Mpur. 
Already  he  is  termed  "the  first-born  of  Mul-lil."  The 
spread  of  the  cult  of  Mul-lil,  therefore,  and  of  the  magic 
which  it  implied,  must  have  made  its  way  as  far  south 
as  Ur  in  a  very  remote  age.  But  we  have  no  reason  for 
believing  that  the  Moon-god  of  Ur  and  the  Moon-god  of 
Mpur  were  originally  one  and  the  same.  Each  Baby 
lonian  town,  large  and  small,  had  its  own  local  Moon-god, 
whose  several  names  are  recorded  on  a  broken  tablet.1 
The  forms  under  which  the  Moon-god  was  worshipped 
in  Babylonia  were  as  numerous  as  the  forms  of  the  Sun- 
god  himself. 

What  seems  yet  more  singular  to  the  comparative 
mythologist  is  that,  according  to  the  official  religion  of 
Chalda3a,  the  Sun-god  was  the  offspring  of  the  Moon-god. 
Such  a  belief  could  have  arisen  only  where  the  Moon-god 
was  the  supreme  object  of  worship.  It  is  a  reversal  of 
the  usual  mythological  conception  which  makes  the  moon 
the  companion  or  pale  reflection  of  the  sun.  It  runs 
directly  counter  to  the  Semitic  Baal-worship.  To  the 
Semite  the  Sun-god  was  the  lord  and  father  of  the  gods ; 
the  moon  was  either  his  female  consort,  or,  where  Semitic 
theology  had  been  influenced  by  that  of  Chalda3a,  an 
inferior  god. 

But  the  belief  was  thoroughly  in  harmony  with  a 
theology  which  admitted  Mul-lil  and  his  ghost-world  to 

1  AY.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  56  */. 

156  LECTURE   III. 

the  highest  honours  of  the  pantheon.  With  such  a  theo 
logy  it  was  natural  that  the  sun  should  be  regarded  as 
issuing  forth  from  the  darkness  of  night.  And  the  moon 
was  necessarily  associated  with  the  night.  Indeed,  in 
one  passage1  the  Moon-god  is  actually  identified  with 
the  plague-demon  Namtar,  who  was,  as  we  have  seen, 
the  messenger  of  the  queen  of  hell.  Moreover,  the  Baby 
lonians  were  a  nation  of  astronomers.  Their  astrology 
was  closely  allied  to  their  magic,  and  the  lofty  towers  of 
their  temples  were  used  for  the  observation  of  the  sky. 
It  is  not  wonderful,  therefore,  that  the  cult  of  the  moon 
should  occupy  a  foremost  place  in  their  creed,  or  that 
the  moon  should  be  conceived  as  a  male  and  not  as  a 
female  divinity. 

It  was  at  Ur,  however,  that  the  Moon-god  was  placed 
at  the  head  of  the  divine  hierarchy,  and  it  was  from  Ur 
that  the  ideas  spread  which  caused  him  to  be  addressed 
as  "the  father  of  the  gods."  At  Ur,  in  fact,  he  held 
the  same  place  that  Mul-lil  held  at  Mpur;  but  while 
Mul-lil  seems  to  have  represented  the  dark  sky  of  night, 
the  Moon-god  was  the  luminary  which  shed  light  upon 
the  darkness.  He  was  known  at  Ur  as  Nanak  or  Nannar,2 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  79.    Unfortunately,  the  name  of  the  city  where  this 
\vas  the  case  is  lost.     The  "  Lady  who  decides  destiny,"  who  is  identi 
fied  with  the  impersonal  "Mistress  of  the  gods"  of  Semitic  worship 
(W.  A.  I.  ii.  55,  8),  introduces  us  to  a  wholly  different  conception,  and 
the  later  softening  of  the  plague-demon  into  a  mere  instrument  of 

2  The  reading  is  given  by  82.  8 — 16.  1,  Obv.  3.     Nannakos  was 
supposed  to  be  an  antediluvian  king  who  predicted  the  flood  (Zen. 
6,  10,  Steph.  Byz.  s.v.  'IKOVLOV)  ;  the  name,  like  the  legend  of  the  ark 
at  Aparneia  or  of  Sisythes  (Xisuthros)  at  Hierapolis  (Membij),  probably 
came  into  Asia  Minor  through  the  medium  of  the  Hittites.     Compare 
the  claim  of  the  Arkadians  to  be  TrpocreA^voi  (Scol.  Aristoph.  Nub.  398). 

THE    GODS    OF   BABYLONIA.  157 

a  name  which  the  Semites  by  a  popular  etymology  after 
wards  connected  with  their  word  namaru,  "to  see;"  so 
that  we  find  Nabonidos  addressing  the  Moon-god  of 
Harran  as  "  the  light  of  heaven  and  earth"  (nannari  same 
u  irtsitini).  In  later  days,  both  Nanak  and  Nannar,  like 
other  of  the  Babylonian  gods,  passed  into  heroes  and 
human  kings.  Nannakos  was  transported  into  Phrygia, 
and  Nannaros  became  a  satrap  of  Babylonia  under  the 
Median  monarch  Artaios — a  personage,  it  need  hardly 
be  observed,  unknown  to  actual  history.  The  Persian 
legend,  as  handed  down  by  Ktesias,  is  as  follows : x 

"  There  was  a  Persian  of  the  name  of  Parsondes,2  in  the  service  of 
the  king  of  the  Medes,  an  eager  huntsman,  and  active  warrior  on  foot 
and  in  the  chariot,  distinguished  in  council  and  in  the  field,  and  of 
influence  with  the  king.  Parsondes  often  urged  the  king  to  make  him 
satrap  of  Babylon  in  the  place  of  Nannaros,  who  wore  women's  clothes 
and  ornaments,  but  the  king  always  put  the  petition  aside,  for  it  could 
not  be  granted  without  breaking  the  promise  which  his  ancestor  had 
made  to  Belesys.  Nannaros  discovered  the  intentions  of  Parsondes, 
and  sought  to  secure  himself  against  them,  and  to  take  vengeance.  He 
promised  great  rewards  to  the  cooks  who  were  in  the  train  of  the  king, 
if  they  succeeded  in  seizing  Parsondes  and  giving  him  up.  One  day, 
Parsondes  in  the  heat  of  the  chase  strayed  far  from  the  king.  He  had 
already  killed  many  boars  and  deer,  when  the  pursuit  of  a  wild  ass 
carried  him  to  a  great  distance.  At  last  he  came  upon  the  cooks,  who 
were  occupied  in  preparations  for  the  king's  table.  Being  thirsty, 
Parsondes  asked  for  wine;  they  gave  it,  took  care  of  his  horse,  ard 
invited  him  to  take  food — an  invitation  agreeable  to  Parsondes,  who 
had  been  hunting  the  whole  day.  He  bade  them  send  the  ass  which 
he  had  captured  to  the  king,  and  tell  his  own  servants  where  he  was. 
Then  he  ate  of  the  various  kinds  of  food  set  before  him,  and  drank 

1  I  quote  from  the  English  translation  of  Duncker's  History  of 
Antiquity,  v.  pp.  298  sq. 

2  The  name  of  Parsondes  is  probably  taken  from  the  important  town 
of  Parsindu,  among  the  mountains  of  the  Namri,  on  the  high-road  to 
Ekbatana  (W.  A.  I.  i.  21.  69,  70). 

158  LECTURE    III. 

abundantly  of  the  excellent  wine,  and  at  last  asked  for  his  horse  in 
order  to  return  to  the  -king.  But  they  brought  beautiful  women  to 
him,  and  urged  him  to  remain  for  the  night.  He  agreed,  and  as  soon 
as,  overcome  by  hunting,  wine  and  love,  he  had  fallen  into  a  deep 
sleep,  the  cooks  bound  him  and  brought  him  to  Nannaros.  Nannaros 
reproached  him  with  calling  him  an  effeminate  man,  and  seeking  to 
obtain  his  satrapy ;  he  had  the  king  to  thank  that  the  satrapy  granted 
to  his  ancestors  had  not  been  taken  from  him.  Parsondes  replied  that 
he  considered  himself  more  worthy  of  the  office,  because  he  was  more 
manly  and  more  useful  to  the  king.  But  Nannaros  swore  by  Bel  and 
Mylitta  that  Parsondes  should  be  softer  and  whiter  than  a  woman, 
called  for  the  eunuch  who  was  over  the  female  players,  and  bade  him 
shave  the  body  of  Parsondes,  and  bathe  and  anoint  him  every  day,  put 
women's  clothes  on  him,  plait  his  hair  after  the  manner  of  women, 
paint  his  face,  and  place  him  among  the  women  who  played  the 
guitar  and  sang,  and  to  teach  him  their  arts.  This  was  done,  and  soon 
Parsondes  played  and  sang  better  at  the  table  of  Nannaros  than  any  of 
the  women.  Meanwhile  the  king  of  the  Medes  had  caused  search  to 
be  made  everywhere  for  Parsondes ;  and  since  he  could  nowhere  be 
found,  and  nothing  could  be  heard  of  him,  he  believed  that  a  lion  or 
some  other  wild  animal  had  torn  him  when  out  hunting,  and  lamented 
for  his  loss.  Parsondes  had  lived  for  seven  years  as  a  woman  in  Baby 
lon,  when  Nannaros  caused  an  eunuch  to  be  scourged  and  grievously 
maltreated.  This  eunuch  Parsondes  induced  by  large  presents  to  retire 
to  Media  and  tell  the  king  the  misfortune  which  had  come  upon  him. 
Then  the  king  sent  a  message  commanding  Nannaros  to  give  up  Par 
sondes.  Nannaros  declared  that  he  had  never  seen  him.  But  the 
king  sent  a  second  messenger,  charging  him  to  put  Nannaros  to  death 
if  he  did  not  surrender  Parsondes.  Nannaros  entertained  the  mes 
senger  of  the  king ;  and  when  the  meal  was  brought,  150  women  entered, 
of  whom  some  played  the  guitar,  while  others  blew  the  flute.  At  the 
end  of  the  meal,  Nannaros  asked  the  king's  envoy  which  of  all  the 
women  was  the  most  beautiful  and  had  played  best.  The  envoy  pointed 
to  Parsondes.  Nannaros  laughed  long  and  said,  '  That  is  the  person 
whom  you  seek,'  and  released  Parsondes,  who  on  the  next  day  returned 
home  with  the  envoy  to  the  king  in  a  chariot.  The  king  was  asto 
nished  at  the  sight  of  him,  and  asked  why  he  had  not  avoided  such 
disgrace  by  death.  Parsondes  answered,  '  In  order  that  I  might  see  you 
again  and  by  you  execute  vengeance  on  Nannaros,  which  could  never 
have  been  mine  had  I  taken  my  life.'  The  king  promised  him  that 
his  hope  should  not  be  deceived,  as  soon  as  he  came  to  Babylon.  But 

THE    GODS    OF    BABYLONIA.  159 

when  he  came  there,  Nannaros  defended  himself  on  the  ground  that 
Parsondes,  though  in  no  way  injured  by  him,  had  maligned  him,  and 
sought  to  obtain  the  satrapy  over  Babylonia.  The  king  pointed  out 
that  he  had  made  himself  judge  in  his  own  cause,  and  had  imposed  a 
punishment  of  a  degrading  character;  in  ten  days  he  would  pronounce 
judgment  upon  him  for  his  conduct.  In  terror,  Nannaros  hastened 
to  Mitraphernes,  the  eunuch  of  greatest  influence  with  the  king,  and 
promised  him  the  most  liberal  rewards,  10  talents  of  gold  and  100 
talents  of  silver,  10  golden  and  200  silver  bowls,  if  he  could  induce 
the  king  to  spare  his  life  and  retain  him  in  the  satrapy  of  Babylonia. 
He  was  prepared  to  give  the  king  100  talents  of  gold,  1000  talents  of 
silver,  100  golden  and  300  silver  bowls,  and  costly  robes  with  other 
gifts ;  Parsondes  also  should  receive  100  talents  of  silver  and  costly 
robes.  After  many  entreaties,  Mitraphernes  persuaded  the  king  not  to 
order  the  execution  of  Nannaros,  as  he  had  not  killed  Parsondes,  but 
to  condemn  him  in  the  penalty  which  he  was  prepared  to  pay  Parson 
des  and  the  king.  Nannaros  in  gratitude  threw  himself  at  the  feet  of 
the  king ;  but  Parsondes  said,  *  Cursed  be  the  man  who  first  brought 
gold  among  men ;  for  the  sake  of  gold  I  have  been  made  a  mockery  to 
the  Babylonians.'" 

After  this  thoroughly  characteristic  example  of  the 
way  in  which  Persian  euhemerism  turned  the  mythology 
of  their  neighbours  into  fictitious  history,  it  requires  an 
effort  to  go  back  to  the  sober  facts  of  the  old  cuneiform 
tablets.  ]N"annaros,  or  Nannar,  however,  was  originally 
no  satrap  of  a  Median  king,  but  the  supreme  god  of  Ur, 
in  whose  honour  hymns  were  composed  and  a  ritual  per 
formed  similar  to  that  carried  on  in  honour  of  Merodach 
at  Babylon.  Thanks  to  the  piety  of  the  chief  scribe  of 
Assur-bani-pal,  Istar-sum-esses,  one  of  these  hymns  has 
been  preserved  to  us  in  an  almost  complete  state.  Tho 
Accadian  original  is  accompanied  by  an  interlinear  Semi 
tic  translation,  both  of  which  the  chief  scribe  claims  to 
have  accurately  reproduced.  The  hymn  runs  thus : 1 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  9.  The  translation  given  by  Dr.  Opport  of  this  hymn 
in  his  Fragments  mytholoyiqiies  is  full  of  errors,  and  frequently  mistakes 
the  meaning  of  the  lines. 

160  LECTURE    III. 

1.  "Lord  and  prince  of  the  gods  who  in  heaven  and  earth  alone 

is  supreme  ! 

2.  Father  Nannar,  lord  of  the  firmament,  prince  of  the  gods  ! 

3.  Father  Nannar,  lord  of  heaven,1  mighty  one,  prince  of  the  gods  ! 

4.  Father  Nannar,  lord  of  the  moon,2  prince  of  the  gods  ! 

5.  Father  Nannar,  lord  of  Ur,  prince  of  the  gods  ! 

6.  Father  Nannar,  lord  of  the  Temple  of  the  mighty  Light,  prince 

of  the  gods ! 

7.  Father  Nannar,  who  biddest  the  crowned  disk  to  rise,  prince 

of  the  gods ! 

8.  Father  Nannar,  who  makest  the  crowned  disk3  fully  perfect, 

prince  of  the  gods  ! 

9.  Father  Nannar,  who  sweeps  away  with  a  blow  invincible,  prince 

of  the  gods ! 

10.  Strong  ox,  whose  horn  is  powerful,  whose  limbs  are  perfect, 

whose  beard  is  of  crystal,  whose  member  is  full  of  virility  ; 

11.  Its  fruit  is  generated  of  itself;  its  eye  is  bent  down  to  behold 

(its)  adornment ;  its  virility  is  never  exhausted. 

12.  Merciful  one,  begetter  of  the  universe,  who  founds  (his)  illus 

trious  seat  among  living  creatures.4 

13.  Father,  long-suffering  and  full  of  forgiveness,5  whose  hand 

upholds  the  life  of  all  mankind  ! 

1 3  Lord,  thy  divinity  like  the  far-off  heaven  fills  the  wide  sea  with 

14.  On  the  surface  of  the  peopled  earth  he  bids  the  sanctuary  be 

placed,  he  proclaims  their  name. 

15.  Father,  begetter  of  gods  and  men,  who  causes  the  shrine  to  be 

founded,  who  establishes  the  offering. 

16.  Who  proclaims  dominion,  who  gives  the  sceptre,  who  shall 

fix  destiny  unto  a  distant  day.6 

1  The  Semitic  translator  has  mistaken  the  sense  of  the  original  and 
supposed  that  the  god  Anu  was  intended  by  the  poet.    Hence  he  iden 
tifies  the  Moon-god  with  Assoros  (the  firmament)  and  Anu. 

2  Here  again  the  translator  has  erroneously  rendered  "  the  lord  Sin." 
8  Here  the  translator  has  completely  mistaken  the  sense  of  the  ori 
ginal  and  has  rendered  "royalty"  ! 

4  Such  seems  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  Semitic  translation.     The 
original  is :  "  among  men  far  and  wide  he  erects  the  supreme  shrine." 

5  The  Accadian  is  literally,  "  long-suffering  in  waiting." 

6  So  in  the  translation.     The  original  is  :  "  who  gives  the  sceptre  to 
those  whose  destiny  is  fixed  unto  a  distant  day." 


17.  First-born,  omnipotent,  whose  heart  is  immensity,  and  there  is 

none  who  may  discover  it.1 

18.  Firm  are  his  limbs  (?) ;  his  knees  rest  not;  he  opens  the  path 

of  the  gods  his  brethren. 

19.  (He  is  the  god)  who  makes  the  light  from  the  horizon  to  the 

zenith  of  heaven,  opening  wide  the  doors  of  the  sky,  and 
establishing  light  (in  the  world). 

20.  Father,  begetter  of  the  universe,  illuminator  of  living  beings 

....  sender  of .... 

21.  Lord,  the  ordainer  of  the  laws  of  heaven  and  earth,  whose 

command  may  not  be  (broken). 

22.  Thou  holdest  the  rain  and  the  lightning,2  defender  of  all  living 

things ;  there  is  no  god  who  hath  at  any  time  discovered  thy 

23.  In  heaven  who  is  supreme  1     Thou  alone,  thou  art  supreme. 

24.  On  earth  who  is  supreme  ?     Thou  alone,  thou  art  supreme. 

25.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  made  known  in  heaven,  and  the  angels 

bow  their  faces. 

26.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  made  known  upon  earth,  and  the 

spirits  below  kiss  the  ground. 

27.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  blown  on  high  like  the  wind;   the 

stall  and  the  fold3  are  quickened. 

28.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  done  upon  the  earth,  and  the  herb 

grows  green. 

29.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  seen  in  the  lair4  and  the  shepherd's 

hut ;  it  increases  all  living  things. 

30.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  hath  created  law  and  justice,  so  that 

mankind  has  established  law. 

31.  As  for  thee,  thy  will  is  the  far-off  heaven,  the  hidden  earth 

which  no  man  hath  known.5 

1  In  the  original :  "  his  heart  is  far-extended :  none  shall  describe 
the  god." 

2  The  order  is  reversed  in  the  Semitic  translation. 

3  Rttu  u  maskitum,  which  are  explained  in  79.  7-8.  5.     Other  ren 
derings  of  U-A  given  in  this  tablet  are  epiru,  "  dust ;"  subat  nakri,  "  the 
seat  of  a  stranger ;"  and  zaninu,  "  the  nourisher."   For  ritu,  see  K  4872. 
54,  7 ;  it  is  a  derivative  from  the  root  of  rieu,  "a  shepherd." 

4  Tarbatsu  ;  the  first  syllable  has  been  omitted  in  the  printed  text. 

5  The  original  Accadian  is  literally  :  "  they  will  extend  (as)  heaven, 
it  stretches  below  (as)  earth,  there  are  none  who  can  record  (it)." 


162  LECTURE    III. 

32.  As  for  thee,  who  can  learn  thy  will,  who  can  rival  it  ? 

33.  0  lord,   in  heaven   (is  thy)  lordship,   in  the  earth  (is  thy) 

sovereignty  \   among  the  gods  thy  brethren   a  rival  thou 
hast  not. 

34.  King  of  kings,  of  whose  ....  no  man  is  judge,  whose  divinity 

no  god  resembles. 
[The  next  three  lines  are  too  broken  for  translation.] 

38.  Look  with  favour  on  thy  temple  ! 

39.  Look  with  favour  on  Ur  (thy  city). 

40.  Let  the  high-born  dame  ask  rest  of  thee,  0  lord. 

41.  Let  the  free-born  man,  the  ....  ask  rest  of  thee,  0  lord  ! 

42.  43.  Let  the  spirits  of  heaven  and  earth  (ask  rest  of  thee),  0 


[The  last  few  lines  are  destroyed.] 

COLOPHON. — "  Like  its  old  copy  copied  and  published. 

Tablet  of  Istar-sum-esses,  chief  scribe  of  Assur-bani-pal,  the 
king  of  legions,  the  king  of  Assyria,  and  son  of  Nebo-zir-esir,  chief 
of  the  penmen." 

As  the  original  language  of  this  hymn  is  the  Accadian 
of  northern  Babylonia,  and  not  the  Sumerian  of  the  south, 
it  would  seem  that  the  priesthood  and  population  of  Ur 
were  derived  from  the  north,  and  not  from  the  geogra 
phically  nearer  region  of  which  Eridu  was  the  head. 
This  will  explain  the  relationship  they  discovered  be 
tween  their  own  supreme  deity  and  the  god  of  Mpur. 
Ur  was  either  a  northern  colony  or  had  become  incor 
porated  in  the  northern  kingdom,1  and  its  local  god 
accordingly  became  the  first-born  of  Mul-lil.  It  is  pos 
sible  that  the  hymns  of  which  I  have  just  given  a 
specimen  were  influenced  by  Semitic  ideas ;  at  all  events, 
throughout  the  northern  part  of  Chalda3a,  wherever  the 
Accadian  dialect  of  the  north  was  spoken,  a  strong  j 



1  This  latter  is  the  more  probable  explanation,  since  the  Accadian  of 
the  hymn  is  really  that  artificial  language  which  grew  up  in  the  court 
of  Sargon. 


Semitic  element  seems  to  have  existed  in  the  population 
from  an  early  period ;  and  of  Ur  of  the  Casdim  we  are 
specially  told  that  it  was  the  birth-place  of  the  Semitic 

Now  Abraham,  it  will  be  remembered,  migrated  from 
Ur  to  Harran,  in  northern  Mesopotamia.  The  distance 
between  the  two  cities  appears  considerable,  and  yet 
there  was  a  very  real  connection  between  them.  Like 
Ur,  Harran  also  was  a  city  of  the  Moon-god,  and  the 
temple  of  the  Moon-god  in  Harran  rivalled  that  at  Ur. 
Nay,  more ;  Harran  was  as  closely  connected  with  Baby 
lonian  history  and  religion  as  was  Ur  itself.  Its  name 
recurs  in  early  Babylonian  texts,  and  is  indeed  of  Acca- 
dian  origin,  Kliarran  being  the  Accadian  word  for  "road," 
and  denoting  the  city  which  lay  on  the  great  highway 
from  Chaldsea  to  the  west.  The  mythologists  of  Baby 
lonia  entitled  the  planet  Mercury  "the  spirit  of  the 
men  of  Harran;"1  and  Nabonidos  boasts  of  his  restoration 
of  "the  temple  of  the  Moon-god  in  Harran,  in  which 
from  time  immemorial  the  Moon-god,  the  mighty  lord, 
had  placed  the  seat  of  the  goodness  of  his  heart."  Gems 
show  us  what  the  image  of  the  god  was  like.  It  was 
a  simple  cone  of  stone,  above  which  blazed  the  star  of 
the  moon,  such  as  we  see  depicted  on  the  seals  and 
monuments  of  Assyria  and  Babylonia.  Sargon  couples 
together  Assur  and  Harran,  whose  ancient  customs  he 
claims  to  have  restored,  and  declares  that  he  had  "  spread 
his  shadow  over  Harran,  and  by  the  will  of  Anu  and 
Dagon  had  written  (again)  its  laws."  Shalmaneser  III. 
and  Assur-bani-pal  had  rebuilt  the  temple  of  the  Moon- 

1  W.  A.  T.  iii.  67,  28. 

164  LECTURE   III. 

god  there  which,  bore  the  Accadian  name  of  E-Khulkhul, 
"the  house  of  rejoicing,"  and  neither  they  nor  Nabo- 
nidos  seem  to  have  had  any  doubt  that  the  Moon-god 
worshipped  therein  was  the  same  as  the  Moon-god  wor 
shipped  in  Assyria  and  Babylonia. 

Whether  this  were  primitively  the  case  must  remain 
an  open  question.  It  is  more  probable  that  the  Moon- 
god  of  Harran  was  originally  as  much  a  local  divinity 
as  the  Moon-god  of  Ur,  unless,  indeed,  Harran  had  been 
itself  the  foundation  of  the  kings  of  Ur  in  their  early 
campaigns  to  the  west.  But  the  leading  place  won  by 
Ur  at  the  time  when  its  kings  made  themselves  masters 
of  the  whole  of  Babylonia,  caused  the  Moon-god  of  Ur 
to  supplant  the  Moon- gods  of  the  other  cities  of  the 
country,  just  as  the  rise  of  Babylon  caused  Merodach  to 
supplant  the  other  Sun-gods  of  Chaldeea.  With  the 
growth  of  the  Semitic  power  in  Babylonia,  the  influence 
of  the  Moon-god  of  Ur  became  greater  and  more  exten 
sive.  Nannar  was  now  invoked  as  Sin — a  name  which 
at  first  appears  to  have  denoted  the  orb  of  the  moon  only l 
— and  the  name  and  worship  of  Sin  spread  not  only  in 
Babylonia,  but  in  other  parts  of  the  Semitic  world.  His 
name  has  been  found  in  an  inscription  of  southern  Arabia, 
and  Sinai  itself,  the  sacred  mountain,  is  nothing  more 
than  the  sanctuary  "  dedicated  to  Sin."  It  may  be  that 
the  worship  of  the  Babylonian  Moon-god  was  brought 
to  the  peninsula  of  Sinai  as  far  back  as  the  days  when 
the  sculptors  of  Tel-loh  carved  into  human  shape  the 
blocks  of  diorite  they  received  from  the  land  of  Magan. 

1  Whether  the  name  of  Sin  is  of  Accadian  or  Semitic  origin  must  at 
present  remain  an  open  question.  At  all  events,  I  cannot  believe  that 
it  is  a  Semitic  corruption  of  an  Accadian  Zu-en. 


However  this  may  be,  the  Moon-god  of  Ur,  like  the 
city  over  which  he  presided,  took  primary  rank  among 
the  Babylonians.  His  worshippers  invoked  him  as  the 
father  and  creator  of  both  gods  and  men.  It  is  thus  that 
Nabonidos  celebrates  his  restoration  of  the  temple  of 
Sin  at  Harran:  "May  the  gods  who  dwell  in  heaven 
and  earth  approach  the  house  of  Sin,  the  father  who 
created  them.  As  for  me,  Nabonidos,  king  of  Babylon, 
the  completer  of  this  temple,  may  Sin,  the  king  of  the 
gods  of  heaven  and  earth,  in  the  lifting  up  of  his  kindly 
eyes,  with  joy  look  upon  me  month  by  month  at  noon 
and  sunset;  may  he  grant  me  favourable  tokens,  may 
he  lengthen  my  days,  may  he  extend  my  years,  may  he 
establish  my  reign,  may  he  overcome  my  foes,  may  he 
slay  my  enemies,  may  he  sweep  away  my  opponents. 
May  Mn-gal,  the  mother  of  the  mighty  gods,  in  the 
presence  of  Sin,  her  loved  one,  speak  like  a  mother.  May 
Samas  and  Istar,  the  bright  offspring  of  his  heart,  to 
Sin,  the  father  who  begat  them,  speak  of  blessing.  May 
Nuzku,  the  messenger  supreme,  hearken  to  my  prayer 
and  plead  for  me." 

The  moon  existed  before  the  sun.  This  is  the  idea 
which  underlay  the  religious  belief  of  Accad,  exact  con 
verse,  as  it  was,  of  the  central  idea  of  the  religion  of  the 
Semites.  It  was  only  where  Accadian  influence  was 
strong  that  the  Semite  could  be  brought  in  any  way  to 
accept  it.  It  was  only  in  Babylonia  and  Assyria  and  on 
the  coasts  of  Arabia  that  the  name  of  Sin  was  honoured ; 
elsewhere  the  attributes  of  the  Moon-god  were  transferred 
to  the  goddess  Istar,  who,  as  we  shall  see  hereafter,  was 
originally  the  evening  star.  But  in  Babylonia,  Sin  became 
inevitably  the  father  of  the  gods.  His  reign  extended 

166  LECTURE   III. 

'to  the  beginning  of  history ;  Sargon,  as  the  representative 
of  the  Babylonian  kings  and  the  adorer  of  Merodach, 
speaks  of  "the  remote  days  of  the  period  of  the  Moon- 
god,"  which  another  inscription  makes  synonymous  with 
"the  birth  of  the  land  of  Assur."1  As  the  passage  I 
have  quoted  from  Nabonidos  shows,  Sin  was  more  parti 
cularly  the  father  of  Samas  and  Istar,  of  the  Sun-god 
and  the  goddess  of  the  evening  star. 

But  who  was  this  Sun-god  who  was  thus  the  offspring 
of  Sin  ?  The  Sun-gods  of  Babylonia  were  as  numerous 
as  its  Moon-gods ;  each  city  had  its  own ;  who  then  was 
the  Samas  who  was  so  specially  the  son  of  the  Moon-god 
of  Ur  ?  The  answer  is  not  very  easy  to  give.  Geogra 
phical  considerations  would  lead  us  to  think  of  the  Sun- 
god  of  Larsa,  the  modern  Senkereh.  Larsa  was  near  Ur, 
though  on  the  opposite  bank  of  the  river,  and  its  temple 
of  the  Sun  had  been  famous  from  pre-Semitic  times. 

1  Tsibit  Assuri,  W.  A.  I.  iii.  11.  ii.  32.  Oppert  is  right  against 
George  Smith  and  Lenormaut  in  holding  that  adi  Sin  in  the  first- 
quoted  passage  (Khors.  110)  cannot  be  a  proper  name,  Adi-Ur  (!).  A 
fragmentary  tablet  (quoted  on  p.  62  of  George  Smith's  Chaldean 
Genesis,  ed.  Sayce)  contained  a  legend  about  the  foundation  of  the  city 
of  Assur  and  its  two  temples,  E-Sarra,  the  temple  of  Adar,  and  E-Lusu. 
"We  read  (line  6) :  "  The  god  Assur  (AN  KHI)  opened  his  mouth  and 
says ;  to  the  god  Khir  .  .  .  (he  speaks) :  '  above  the  deep  (elinu  aps^) 
the  seat  (of  Ea),  before  (mikhrit)  E-Sarra  which  I  have  built,  below 
the  shrine  (asrata)  I  have  made  strong,  let  me  construct  E-Lusu  the 
seat  of  (the  god  .  .  .),  let  me  found  (lusarsid)  within  it  his  fortress . . . 
when  (the  god)  ascends  from  the  deep  them  didst  prepare  a  place  (that 
was  still)  unfinished  .  .  .  thou  didst  establish  in  Assur  (D.  P.  PAL-BAT- 
KI)  the  temples  of  the  great  gods  .  .  .  .'  to  his  father  Anu  even  to  him 
(a[na  s]asu)  (he  spoke) :  '  The  god  .  .  .  has  (appointed  ?)  thee  over 
whatsoever  thy  hand  has  made,  whatever  thy  (hand)  possesses ;  over 
the  earth  that  thy  hand  has  made,  whatever  (thy  hand)  possesses ;  the 
city  of  Assur  whose  name  thou  hast  given  (sa  tazkura  sum-su),  the 
place  (which)  thou  hast  made  exalted  for  ever'  (tamdi  darisam)." 


But  there  is  a  special  reason  which  makes  it  probable 
that  the  Sun-god  of  Larsa  was  the  deity  whose  father 
was  Sin.  The  temple  of  Sin  at  Ur,  the  ruins  of  which 
are  still  in  existence,  had  been  founded  by  Ur-Bagas, 
the  first  monarch  of  united  Babylonia  of  whom  we  know. 
His  monuments  have  been  met  with  at  Mugheir,  at  Larsa, 
at  Warka,  at  Niffer,  and  at  Zerghul;  and  his  bricks 
show  that  he  was  the  founder — or  more  probably  the 
restorer — not  only  of  the  great  temple  of  the  Moon-god 
at  Ur,  but  also  of  those  of  the  Sun-god  at  Larsa,  of  Mul- 
lil  at  Mpur,  and  of  Anu  and  Istar  at  Erech.  Under  his 
rule,  therefore,  the  unity  of  the  empire  found  its  religious 
expression  in  the  union  of  the  worship  of  the  Moon-god 
of  Ur  with  that  of  the  Sun-god  of  Larsa.  As  the  domi 
nant  state,  Ur  necessarily  stood  to  Larsa  and  Erech  in  the 
relation  of  a  metropolis,  and  its  god  thus  became  the  pro 
genitor  of  the  gods  of  Larsa  and  Erech.  The  Sun- god  of 
Larsa,  like  the  Istar  of  Erech,  became  accordingly  the 
child  of  Mannar  or  Sin. 

It  was  as  Kur(?)-nigin-gara,  "  the  god  who  makes  the 
palace  (of  the  setting  sun),"  that  the  Sun-god  of  Larsa 
seems  to  have  been  known  to  his  worshippers  in  pre- 
Semitic  days.1  But  when  the  Accadian  was  superseded 
by  the  Semite,  his  special  name  was  merged  in  the  general 
title  of  Samsu  or  Samas,  "the  Sun."  He  became  the 
Baal  of  Larsa,  who  differed  but  little,  save  in  the  name 
by  which  he  was  addressed,  from  the  other  Baalim  of 

The  fame  of  the  Samas  of  Larsa,  however,  was  obscured 
at  an  early  period  by  that  of  the  Samas  of  Sippara.  Sip- 

1  W.A.I.  ii.  60,  12. 

163  LECTURE   III. 

para  in  historical  times  was  pre-eminently  the  city  of  the 
Sun-god.  It  was  there  that  E-Babara,  "the  house  of 
lustre,"  the  great  temple  of  the  Sun-god,1  had  been  erected 
in  days  to  which  tradition  alone  went  back,  and  it  was 
around  its  shrine  that  Semitic  sun-worship  in  Babylonia 
was  chiefly  centred.  Sippara  and  its  immediate  neigh 
bourhood  had  been  the  seat  of  early  Semitic  supremacy 
in  Chaldsea.  It  was,  it  is  true,  of  pre-Semitic  foundation ; 
its  primitive  name  Zimbir  would  show  this,  like  the  name 
of  E-Babara  itself ;  and  we  know  that  Samas  had  once 
been  worshipped  within  its  walls  under  the  Accadian 
title  of  Babara  or  Birra.  But  in  these  remote  days  Sip- 
para  was  probably  an  insignificant  town ;  at  all  events, 
the  memory  of  later  ages  knew  of  Sippara  only  in  connec 
tion  with  the  empire  of  Sargon  of  Accad  and  the  Semitic 
version  of  the  story  of  the  Deluge.2 

In  the  Old  Testament,  Sippara  appears  as  a  dual  city — 
Sepharvaim,  "  the  two  Sipparas."  One  of  these  has  been 
discovered  in  the  mounds  of  Abu-Habba  by  Mr.  Hormuzd 
Eassam,  who  has  brought  from  it  a  monument  on  which 

1  The  temple  of  the  Sun-god  at  Larsa  was  also  known  as  E-babara 
(W.  A.I.  i.  65,  42);  its  ziggurmt  was  called  "the  house  of  the  bond 
of  heaven  and  earth"  (ii.  50,  19). 

2  According  to  Berossos,  Xisuthros  had  written  a  history  of  all  that 
had  happened  before  the  deluge  and  buried  the  books  at  Sippara,  where 
they  were  disinterred  after  the  flood  by  his  directions.     The  legend 
seems  to  have  been  based  partly  on  a  popular  etymology  which  con 
nected  Sippara  with  sipru,  "a  book"  (Heb.  sepher),  partly  on  the  fact 
that  the  whole  district  was  termed  "  the  country  of  books,"  in  conse 
quence  of  its  being  the  seat  of  the  library  of  Sargon,  whose  city  of 
Accad  formed  a  part  of  the  double  Sippara.     That  the  story  of  the 
deluge  emanated  in  its  present  form  from  Sippara  is  indicated  not 
only  by  the  legend  of  the  burial  of  the  books,  but  also  by  the  fact  that 
the  hero  of  it  was  "  a  man  of  Surippak,"  a  small  town  close  to  Sippara. 


is  carved  a  curious  image  of  the  divine  solar  disk.  The 
other  has  been  found  by  Dr.  Hayes  Ward  in  the  mounds 
of  Anbar,  an  hour's  distance  from  Sufeirah  and  the 
Euphrates.  The  fragment  of  a  geographical  tablet  seems 
indeed  to  mention  no  less  than  four  Sipparas — Sippara 
proper,  Sippara  of  the  desert,  Sippara  "the  ancient,"1 
and  Sippara  of  the  Sun-god;2  but  since  the  historical 
texts  know  of  two  only — Sippara  of  Anunit  and  Sippara 
of  Samas — it  is  best  to  regard  the  three  first  names  as 
alike  denoting  the  same  place,  Sippara  of  Anunit,  the 
modern  Anbar.  It  must  have  been  from  this  Sippara 
that  the  Euphrates  received  its  title,  "river  of  Sippara," 
since  Abu-Habba  is  seven  miles  distant  from  the  present 
bed  of  the  stream. 

In  the  close  neighbourhood  of  this  double  Sippara, 
Sargon  built  or  restored  the  city  to  which  he  gave  a 
name,  and  from  which  the  whole  of  northern  Babylonia 
received  its  title  of  Accad.  It  is  called  Agadhe*  in  the 
non-Semitic  texts,  Accad  ( Akkadu)  in  the  Semitic ;  though 
whether  the  name  is  of  Semitic  or  non-Semitic  origin 
cannot  at  present  be  decided.  Sargon's  patronage  of 
literature,  and  the  celebrated  library  he  founded  in  Accad, 
caused  the  district  to  be  known  as  "  the  region  of  books."  3 
A  popular  etymology  afterwards  connected  the  name  of 
Sippara  itself  with  sepher,  "  a  book,"  and  the  city  accord- 

1  Vl-dua  rendered  by  tsatu,  W.  A.I.  iv.  13,  24,  and  Msittu,  v.  21, 
14,  K  4874.  Obv.  21,22  (udu  ul-dua  udu  ul-dua-lil  =  ki-ti-it-ti  tsa-a-ti)  • 
comp.  K4171.  Rev.  9,  23,  28  (UDU  UL-DUA-W  supar  pi  sa  Enuva  SAL 

2  Hayes  Ward,  Proceedings  of  the  American  Oriental  Society,  Oct. 

3  W.A.I,  ii.  51,  8. 

170  LECTURE   III. 

ingly  appears  in  the  fragments  of  Berossos  as  Pantibibla, 
or  "  Book-town." 

With  the  spread  and  fame  of  the  empire  of  Sargon, 
the  worship  of  Samas  spread  and  became  famous  also. 
The  empire  and  the  cult  were  alike  Semitic ;  wherever 
the  Semite  planted  himself,  the  Sun-god  was  worshipped 
under  some  form  and  name.  The  extent,  therefore,  of 
the  worship  of  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara  marks  the  extent 
and  power  of  Sargon' s  kingdom.  The  older  Samas  of 
Larsa  was  eclipsed  by  the  new  deity;  henceforward 
Sippara,  and  not  Larsa,  was  the  chief  seat  of  the  adoration 
of  Samas  in  Babylonia.  It  is  to  Sippara  in  all  probability 
that  the  hymns  addressed  to  the  Sun-god  belong.  They 
are  the  product  of  an  age  of  new  ideas  and  aspirations. 
They  represent  the  meeting  and  amalgamation  of  Semitic 
and  Accadian  thought.  The  scribes  and  poets  of  Sargon's 
court  were  partly  Semites,  partly  Accadians;  but  the 
Semites  had  received  an  Accadian  education,  and  the 
Accadians  had  learnt  the  language  and  imitated  the  style 
of  their  Semitic  masters.  Though  the  originals  of  most 
of  the  hymns  are  written  in  the  old  language  of  Accad — 
a  language  that  had  become  sacred  to  the  Semites,  and 
in  which  alone  the  gods  allowed  themselves  to  be  ad 
dressed — the  thoughts  contained  in  them  are  for  the 
most  part  Semitic.  We  have  no  longer  to  do  with  a 
Mul-lil,  a  lord  of  ghosts  and  demons,  nor  even  with  an 
Ea,  with  his  charms  and  sorceries  for  the  removal  of 
human  ills,  but  with  the  supreme  Baal  of  Semitic  faith, 
the  father  and  creator  of  the  world,  who  was  for  his 
adorer  at  the  moment  of  adoration  the  one  omnipotent 

god.     It  is  thus  that  we  read : 1 

~~M^A.I.  iv.  19,  2. 

THE    GODS    OF   BABYLONIA.  171 

"To  be  recited.1 — 1.  Lord,  illuminator  of  the  darkness,  opener  of 
the  sickly  face, 

2.  Merciful  god,  who  setteth  up  the  fallen,  who  helpeth  the  weak, 

3.  Unto  thy  light  look  the  great  gods, 

4.  The  spirits  of  earth  all  gaze  upon  thy  face  ;2 

5.  The  language  of  hosts  as  one  word  thou  directest, 

6.  Smiting  their  head  they  look  to  the  light  of  the  midday  sun.8 

7.  Like  a  wife,  art  thou  set,  glad  and  gladdening. 

8.  Thou  art  the  light  in  the  vault  of  the  far-off  heaven. 

9.  Thou  art  the  spectacle  of  the  broad  earth. 

10.  Men  far  and  near  behold  thee  and  rejoice. 

11.  The  great  gods  have  smelt  the  sweet  savour  (of  the  sacrifice), 

12.  the  food  of  the  shining  heaven,  the  blessings  (of  the  gods). 

13.  He  who  has  not  turned  his  hand  to  sin  (thou  wilt  prosper), 

14.  he  shall  eat  thy  food,  (he  shall  be  blessed  by  thee).J; 

I.4  "Mighty  lord,  from  the  midst  of  the  shining  heaven  is  thy 
rising ; 

2.  0  Sun-god,  valiant  hero,  from  the  midst  of  the  shining  heaven 

is  thy  rising ; 

3.  In  the  enclosure  of  the  shining  heaven  is  the  weapon  of  thy 


4.  Where  in  the  shining  heavens  is  thy  palace  (kuinmi)^ 

5.  In  the  great  gate  of  the  shining  heavens,  when  thou  openest  (it), 

1  EN,  i.e.  siptu,  which  at  the  commencement  of  these  Semitic  texts 
no  longer  means  so  much  "an  incantation"  as  part  of  a  service  which 
must  be  "recited"  by  the  priest.     Though  some  of  the  hymns  may  go 
back  to  the  time  of  Sargon,  others,  at  all  events  in  their  present  form, 
must  be  considerably  later. 

2  "  Head,"  in  the  Accadian  original. 

3  In  the  Semitic  translation,  simply  "  the  Sun-god."    The  Accadian 
original  is  literally,  "  they  make  obeisance  of  their  head,  and  gazing, 
0  light  of  the  midday  sun." 

4  W.  A.  I.  iv.  17. 

5  (K)ummi-(ka).     Kummu,  which  properly  means  "a  palace,"  is 
used  specially  of  the  palace  of  the  Sun-god  into  which  he  returns  at 
sunset.     Hence  it  is  denoted  in  Accadian  by  the  three  ideographs 

172  LECTURE   III. 

6.  in  the  highest  (summits)  of  the  shining  heavens,  when  thou 

passest  by, 

7.  (the  angels  ?)  joyfully  draw  near  to  thee  in  prayer  .... 

8.  (The  ministers  ?)  of  the  queen  of  the  gods  attend  thee  with 


9.  The  ....  for  the  repose  of  thy  heart  daily  attend  thee. 

10.  The  ....  of  the  hosts  of  the  earth  zealously  regard  thee. 

11.  The  (hosts)  of  heaven  and  earth  attend  thee,  even  thee. 
[The  next  few  lines  are  too  imperfect  to  be  translated.] 

18.  With  a  bond  are  they  united  together  straitly,  (they  that)  are 

with  thee. 

19.  The  divine  man1  on  behalf  of  his  son  attends  thee,  even  thee, 

at  the  head.2 

20.  (Worshipper.} — The  lord  has  sent  me,  even  me. 

21.  The  great  lord  Ea  has  sent  me,  even  me. 

22.  (Priest.) — Attend  and  learn  his  word,  enjoin  his  command. 

23.  Thou  in  thy  course  directest  the  black-headed  race  (of  Accad). 

24.  Cast  on  him  a  ray  of  mercy  and  let  it  heal  his  sickness. 

25.  The  man,  the  son  of  his  god,3  has  committed  sin  and  transgres 


26.  ( Worshipper.) — His  limbs  are  sick,  sick  and  in  sickness  he  lies. 

27.  0  Sun-god,  utter  thy  voice  at  the  lifting  up  of  my  hands.4 

28.  (Priest.) — Eat  his  food,  receive  his  sacrifice,  show  thyself  his 


29.  By  thine  order  let  his  sin  be  pardoned,  his  transgression  removed. 

30.  Let  his  sickness  quit  his  body  (?),  and  let  him  live. 

31.  May  he  live  like  the  king  ! 

32.  On  the  day  that  he  lives  (again)  may  he  reverence  thy  supre 


1  Does  this  refer  to  the  first  man,  like  the  Yima-Kshaeta  of  the 
Zend-Avesta  *? 

2  So  in  the  Semitic  translation.     The  original  has  "alone"  (usues). 

3  A  common  phrase  in  the  bilingual  poems,  denoting  the  close  attach 
ment  of  the  worshipper  to  his  deity.     There  is  no  connection  between 
this  idea  and  that  embodied  in  the  phrase,  "  the  sons  of  God"  (Gen. 
vi.  2),  or  even  in  the  statement  that  Adam  was  "the  son  of  God" 
(Luke  iii.  38).     But  compare  the  expression,  "a  son  of  God,"  in  Dan. 
iii.  25. 

4  In  the  original :  "  May  the  Sun-god  look  at  the  lifting  up  of  my 


33.  Like  a  king  may  thy  judgment  adjudge.1 

34.  Me  also,  the  magician,  thy  servant,  may  thy  judgment  adjudge. 

35.  Conclusion  (of  the  hymn).      When  the  sun  is  up 

36.  (this  is)  to  be  recited.2 — I  have  cried  to  thee,  0  Sun-god,  in  the 

midst  of  the  glittering  heaven ; 

37.  in  the  shadow  of  the  cedar  thou  dwellest,  and 

38.  thy  feet  are  set  on  the  bright  verdure  of  the  herb. 

39.  The  word  inclines  towards  thee,  it  loves  thee  as  a  friend. 

40.  Thy  brilliant  light  illumines  all  men. 

41.  Overthrower  of  all  that  would  overthrow  thee,  assemble  the 


42.  0  Sun-god,  for  thou  art  he  who  knoweth  their  boundaries. 

43.  Destroyer  of  the  wicked,  who  inspirest  the  explanation3 

44.  of  signs  and  evil  omens,  of  dreams  and  baneful  vampires,4 

45.  who  turnest  evil  into  good,  who  destroyest  men  and  countries 

46.  that  devote  themselves  to  baneful  sorceries,  I  humble  myself  (?) 

before  thee. 

47.  Of  bright  corn-stalks  their  images  I  have  fashioned 

48.  who  have  practised  magic  and  devised  the  binding  spell 

49.  Terrify  their  heart  and  they  are  filled  with  dejection, 

50.  and  abide  thou,  0  Sun-god,  the  light  of  the  mighty  gods. 

51.  With  the  utmost  of  my  breath  let  me  rejoice. 

52.  May  the  gods  who  have  created  me  take  my  hands ; 

53.  Purify  my  mouth,  direct  my  hands, 

54.  do  thou  also  direct,  0  lord  of  the  light  of  hosts,  0  Sun-god  the 


1  KA  (determinative  of  speech)  &la  Men-tile.    For  6ila  ( =  saladhu 
sa  [arneh]),  see  W.A.I,  ii.  39,  14.     Comp.  W.A.I,  iv.  12.  31,  32, 
and  29.  16—18,  where  &7a  is  rendered  dalili.    Tiglath-Pileser  I.  calls 
himself  dalil  Hi  rabi  ana  dalali,  "judging  according  to  the  judgment 
of  the  great  gods."      Delitzsch  (Lotz's  Tiglath-Pileser,  p.   149)  and 
Zimmern  (Busspsalmen,  p.  74)  have  entirely  missed  the  true  meaning 
of  the  expression. 

2  The  following  incantation  is  in  Semitic-Assyrian  only,  and  was 
probably  appended  to  the  old  hymn  in  the  time  of  Assur-bani-paL 

3  Namtable. 

4  Also  called  "  (female)  devourers  of  men,"  W.  A.  I.  ii.  32,  77.   Comp. 
the  legend  of  the  Descent  of  Istar  into  Hades,  line  19. 

174  LECTURE    ITT. 

I.1  "  Incantation.— 0  Sun-god,  from  the  foundation  of  the  sky 
thou  comest  forth  (tahhkhar\ 

2.  a  god  whose  journeying  none  can  (rival), 

3.  a  god  who  setteth  at  rest  his  father's  heart. 

4.  Ea  (Nu-dimmud)  has  enlarged  for  thee  (thy)  destiny  among 

the  gods. 

5.  The  seat  (sulit)  of  the  earth  (he  has  filled)  into  thy  hand. 

6.  The  fear  of  thy  divinity  (overwhelms)  the  world. 

7.  From  the  ....  the  gods  are  born  (1). 

8.  The  Sun-god  from  the  midst  of  heaven  rises." 

In  the  closing  days  of  the  Babylonian  monarchy, 
Nabonidos,  after  restoring  the  temple  of  the  Sun-god  at 
Sippara,  addresses  him  in  the  following  words:  "0 
Samas,  (mighty  lord)  of  heaven  and  earth,  light  of  the 
gods  his  fathers,  offspring  of  Sin  and  Mn-gal,  when  thou 
enterest  into  E-Babbara,  the  temple  of  thy  choice,  when 
thou  inhabitest  thy  everlasting  shrine,  look  with  joy 
upon  me,  Nabonidos,  the  king  of  Babylon,  the  prince 
who  has  fed  thee,  who  has  done  good  to  thy  heart, 
who  has  built  thy  dwelling-place  supreme,  and  upon  my 
prosperous  labours;  and  daily  at  noon  and  sunset,  in 
heaven  and  earth,  grant  me  favourable  omens,  receive 
my  prayers,  and  listen  to  my  supplications.  May  I  be 
lord  of  the  firmly-established  sceptre  and  sword,  which 
thou  hast  given  my  hands  to  hold,  for  ever  and  ever !" 

Nabonidos,  the  Babylonian,  the  peculiar  prote'ge'  of 
Merodach,  could  not  regard  Samas  with  the  same  eyes 
as  the  old  poets  of  the  city  of  the  Sun-god.  His  supreme 
Baal  was  necessarily  Merodach,  whose  original  identity 
with  Samas  had  long  since  been  forgotten ;  and  Samas  of 
Sippara  was  consequently  to  him  only  the  Baal  of  another 
and  a  subject  state.  Samas  is  therefore  but  one  of  the 

1  S  690,  Obv. 


younger  gods,  who  illuminates  his  divine  fathers  in  the 
higher  heaven.  He  shares  the  power  and  glory  of  his 
fathers  only  as  the  son  shares  the  authority  of  the  father 
in  the  human  family.  Nothing  can  illustrate  more  clearly 
the  local  character  of  Babylonian  religion  than  this  dif 
ference  between  the  position  assigned  to  Samas  in  the 
hymns  and  in  the  inscription  of  Nabonidos.  In  the  one, 
he  is  the  supreme  god  who  brooks  no  equal  \  in  the  other, 
the  subordinate  of  Merodach  and  even  of  the  Moon-god 

As  Semitic  influence  extended  itself  in  Babylonia,  the 
Sun-god  of  Sippara  came  to  absorb  and  be  identified 
with  the  numerous  local  solar  deities  of  the  Chaldean 
cities.  It  was  only  where  a  solar  divinity  was  wor 
shipped  by  the  Semitic  race  under  another  name,  as  at 
Babylon  or  Eridu  or  Mpur,  or  where  the  Semites  had 
already  adopted  another  deity  as  the  supreme  object  of 
their  worship,  as  at  Ur,  that  this  process  of  absorption 
and  identification  did  not  take  place.  At  times  the  local 
divinity  became  the  son  of  Samas.  Thus  the  Kosssean 
Sun-god  Kit,  who  had  been  introduced  by  the  Kosssean 
conquest,  along  with  other  gods  like  Simalia  and  Suga- 
muna,  under  the  Semitised  name  of  Kittum,  was  made 
his  son,1  and  Makhir,  the  god  of  dreams,  through  an 
error  occasioned  by  the  want  of  any  indices  of  gender  in 
Accadian,  was  termed  his  daughter.2 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  58,  11.     The  Semitic  worshipper  no  doubt  identified 
the  name  with  his  own  word  kittum,  "  right." 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  58,  13.     In  v.  70.  1.  9.  15,  on  the  contrary,  Makhir 
is  a  god.     He  was  the  god  of  revelation,  since  a  knowledge  of  the 
future  was  declared  through  dreams.     Hence  the  Accadian  me-gal-vu, 
"knowledge  of  the  oracle,"  is  interpreted  suttu pasaru,  "to  explain  a 

176  LECTURE   III. 

This  absence  of  any  marks  to  denote  grammatical 
gender,  which  Accadian  shared  with  other  agglutinative 
languages,  must  have  been  a  sore  puzzle  and  difficulty 
to  the  Semite  when  he  first  began  to  worship  the  gods 
of  his  more  cultured  neighbours.  Nin^  for  instance,  in 
Proto-Chaldsean,  signifies  at  once  "lord"  and  "lady,"  its 
primary  meaning  being  "the  great  one."  But  the 
whole  grammatical  thought  of  the  Semite  was  based 
upon  a  difference  of  gender.  Not  only  were  nouns  dis 
tinguished  into  masculines  and  feminines,  as  in  our  own 
Indo-European  family  of  speech;  the  distinction  was 
further  carried  into  the  verb.  A  masculine  without  a 
feminine  was  as  inconceivable  to  him  as  the  man  without 
the  woman,  the  husband  without  the  wife,  the  father 
without  the  mother.  But  as  in  Semitic  grammar,  so 
also  in  the  Semitic  conception  of  social  life,  the  male  was 
the  source  of  life  and  authority,  the  female  being  but 
his  weaker  double,  the  pale  reflection  as  it  were  of  the 
man.  The  father  was  the  head  of  the  family,  the  supreme 
creator  was  the  masculine  Bel.  This  was  the  exact  con 
verse  of  the  ideas  that  prevailed  among  the  Accadians. 
Here  it  was  the  mother,  and  not  the  father,  who  stood  at 
the  head  of  the  family ;  and  in  the  bilingual  texts  we 
find  that  in  the  Accadian  original  the  female  is  always 
mentioned  before  the  male,  while  the  Semitic  translator 
is  careful  to  reverse  the  order.  Woman  in  Accad  occu 
pied  a  higher  position  than  she  did,  or  does,  among 
the  Semites. 

The  goddesses  of  Accad,  accordingly,  were  independent 

dream"  (v.  30,  13),  and  Tcibu  sakanu,  "to  establish  a  (divine)  message" 
(v.  30,  14).  Suttu  pasaru  may,  however,  be  read  wjpartu  pasaru,  "  to 
explain  a  command." 


beings,  like  the  gods  whose  equals  they  were.  But  it  was 
quite  otherwise  with  the  Semitic  Babylonians.  Except 
where  they  had  borrowed  and  more  or  less  assimilated 
an  Accadian  goddess,  their  female  deities  were  simply 
the  complement  of  their  male  consorts — little  more,  in 
fact,  than  the  grammatical  feminines  of  the  gods.  We 
may  almost  say  that  they  were  created  by  grammatical 
necessity.  The  Sun-god,  therefore,  as  we  have  seen  in 
a  former  Lecture,  was  provided  with  his  feminine  com 
plement,  with  his  "face"  or  reflection,  as  it  was  some 
times  termed. 

The  Semites  gave  her  the  general  title  of  Bilat  matati, 
"the  lady  of  the  world."  It  was  the  title  of  most  of  the 
goddesses.  They  were  seldom  deemed  worthy  of  a  name 
of  their  own ;  they  shone  by  the  reflected  light  of  their 
consorts ;  and  as  the  supreme  god  of  the  worshipper  was 
Bel,  and  more  especially  Bil  matati,  "the  lord  of  the 
world,"  his  wife  was  necessarily  also  Bilat  or  Beltis,  and 
more  especially  Bilat  matati.  Sometimes,  too,  she  was 
called  Bilat  Hi,  "the  lady  of  the  gods,"  in  reference  to 
the  fact  that  the  supreme  Bel  was  their  lord  and  master. 

One  of  the  Accadian  solar  divinities  with  whom  the 
Bilat  matati,  when  regarded  as  the  wife  of  Samas,  was 

A  A 

identified,  was  A  or  Sirrida.1     A  had  originally  been  a 

1  A  bilingual  hymn  to  the  Sun-god,  which  was  recited  by  the  priests 
at  sunset,  has  been  translated  by  Mr.  Pinches  (Tr.  Soc.  Bibl.  Arch. 
viii.  2)  as  follows  : 

"  0  Sun-god,  in  the  midst  of  heaven,  in  thy  setting 
may  the  bolts  of  the  glorious  heavens  speak  peace  to  thee  ! 
may  the  door  of  the  heavens  be  gracious  to  thee  ! 
may  Misaru,  thy  beloved  messenger,  guide  thee  ! 
At  E-Parra,  the  seat  of  thy  lordship,  thy  greatness  shines  forth. 
May  A,  thy  beloved  wife,  gladly  receive  thee  ! 


178  LECTURE   III, 

male  divinity  representing  the  solar  disk,  "  the  light  of 
the  sun"  (Bir-Utu  and  Utu-TJtu),  as  he  was  also  entitled 
in  Accadian.  But  the  solar  disk,  the  face  as  it  were  of 
the  Sun-god,  was  his  female  consort,  according  to  the 
religious  conceptions  of  the  Semites,  and  among  them, 
therefore,  the  old  Accadian  god  was  transformed  into  a 
goddess.  A,  or  Sirrida,  thus  became  a  Semitic  goddess, 
and  sank  into  a  colourless  representative  of  the  female 
element  in  the  divinity.  The  transformation  was  aided 

may  thy  heart  take  rest ! 

may  the  glory  of  thy  godhead  be  established  to  thee ! 

Warrior,  hero,  sun-god,  may  they  glorify  thee  ! 

lord  of  E-Parra,  may  the  course  of  thy  path  be  true  ! 

O  Sun-god,  make  straight  thy  path,  go  the  everlasting  road  to  thy 

0  Sun-god,  of  the  country  the  judge,  of  her  decisions  the  director 

art  thou." 

The  same  hymn  was  also  chanted  in  the  morning,  with  the  substitution 
of  "  0  Sun-god,  from  the  glorious  heaven  rising,"  for  the  first  line.  It 
was  evidently  originally  intended  for  the  temple  of  Samas  at  Sippara, 
but  came  in  later  times  to  be  used  in  the  worship  of  Nebo  at  Borsippa, 
Nebo  being  recognised  as  the  local  Sun-god  of  Borsippa. 

The  original  Sumerian  form  of  the  name  of  A  was  Sirrigam.  In 
W.  A.I.  ii.  57.  21 — 31,  we  have  examples  of  the  various  ways  in 
which  it  might  be  written  :  Sir-ri-ga-ma,  Sur-ga-ma,  'Sir-ga-m,  'Sir-da-m 
(Accadian\  Sir-da  (NiR-da),  'Sir-gam  with  the  ideograph  of  the  sun 
inserted,  'Sir-da-m  (where  the  ideograph  of  the  sun  has  the  phonetic 
value  of  da  transferred  to  it).  From  line  26  it  appears  that  A  was 
properly  a  title,  meaning  "  the  father."  A  gloss  on  line  28  reads  Tsab- 
Utu  instead  of  Bir-Utu,  but  this  is  a  mistake,  since  tsab  was  Semitic, 
and  signified  "warrior"  (erim  in  Accadian)  and  not  "light."  Pinches 
(Proceedings  of  the  Society  of  Bib.  Archceologij,  Nov.  1885)  would 
connect  A  with  Yahveh ;  but  this,  of  course,  is  philologically  impossible,  j 
while  the  supposed  instances  of  an  Assyrian  god  Ya  are  all  due  to  misin-  | 
terpretation  of  the  texts,  and  the  name  of  the  Edomite  king  A-ramrnu  j 
does  not  prove  that  the  Edomite  deity  A  was  identical  with  the  Baby 
lonian.  Oppert's  proposal  to  identify  A  with  Malik  or  Moloch  finds 
no  support  in  the  monuments. 


by  the  absence  of  gender  in  Accadian,  to  which  I  have 
already  alluded.  Where  there  were  no  external  signs 
of  gender,  and  where  Mn-Gan,  one  of  the  epithets 
applied  to  A,  might  mean  indifferently  "lord  of  light" 
or  "lady  of  light,"  it  was  not  difficult  to  bring  it  about. 

One  of  the  deities  partially  absorbed  by  the  Sun- god 
was  the  ancient  god  of  Fire.  Among  most  primitive 
peoples,  fire  is  endowed  with  divine  attributes.  It  moves 
and  devours  like  a  living  thing ;  it  purifies  and  burns  up 
all  that  is  foul ;  and  it  is  through  the  fire  upon  the  altar 
— the  representative  of  the  fire  upon  the  hearth — that 
the  savour  of  the  burnt  sacrifice  ascends  to  the  gods  in 
heaven.  But  fire  is  itself  a  messenger  from  above.  It 
comes  to  us  from  the  sky  in  the  lightning-flash,  and  we 
feel  it  in  the  rays  of  the  noontide  sun.  The  Fire- god 
tended  therefore  to  become  on  the  one  side  the  messenger 
and  intermediary  between  gods  and  men,  and  on  the 
other  side  the  Sun-god  himself. 

In  pre-Semitic  times,  however,  the  Fire-god  retained 
all  his  primaeval  privileges  and  rank.  He  is  still  one  of 
the  leading  gods  or  "creators"  of  the  pantheon.  It  is 
he  who  controls  the  lower  spirits  of  earth  and  heaven, 
and  to  whom  the  prayers  of  the  faithful  are  addressed. 
Thus  he  is  celebrated  in  an  old  hymn  in  the  following 
strains  :l 

1.  "  The  (bed)  of  the  earth  they  took  for  their  border,2  but  the  god 

appeared  not, 

2.  from  the  foundations  of  the  earth  he  appeared  not  to  make 

hostility ; 

1  W.A.I,  iv.  15. 

2  In  the  Semitic  rendering,  "  (In  the  bed)  of  the  earth  their  necks 
were  taken." 

N  2 

180  LECTURE   III. 

3.  (to)  the  heaven  below  they  extended  (their  path),  and  to  the 

heaven  that  is  unseen  they  climbed  afar.1 

4.  In  the  Star(s)  of  Heaven  was  not  their  ministry  ;2  in  Mazzaroth 

(the  Zodiacal  signs)3  was  their  office. 

5.  The  Fire-god,  the  first-born  supreme,  unto  heaven  they  pursued 

and  no  father  did  he  know. 

6.  0  Fire-god,  supreme  on  high,  the  first-born,  the  mighty,  supreme 

enjoiner  of  the  commands  of  Anu  ! 

7.  The  Fire-god  enthrones  with  himself  the  friend  that  he  loves. 

8.  He  reveals  the  enmity  of  those  seven. 

9.  On  the  work  he  ponders  in  his  dwelling-place. 

10.  0  Fire-god,  how  were  those  seven  begotten,  how  were  they 

nurtured  ? 

11.  Those  seven  in  the  mountain  of  the  sunset  were  born; 

12.  those  seven  in  the  mountain  of  the  sunrise  grew  up. 

13.  In  the  hollows  of  the  earth  they  have  their  dwelling; 

14.  on  the  high-places  of  the  earth  their  names  are  proclaimed. 

15.  As  for  them,  in  heaven  and  earth  they  have  no  dwelling,  hid 

den  is  their  name. 

16.  Among  the  sentient  gods  they  are  not  known. 

17.  Their  name  in  heaven  and  earth  exists  not. 

1 8.  Those  seven  from  the  mountain  of  the  sunset  gallop  forth ; 

19.  those  seven  in  the  mountain  of  the  sunrise  are  bound  to  rest. 

20.  In  the  hollows  of  the  earth  they  set  the  foot. 

21.  On  the  high-places  of  the  earth  they  lift  the  neck. 

22.  They  by  nought  are  known ;  in  heaven  and  earth  is  no  know 

ledge  of  them." 

Fire  was  produced  in  Babylonia,  as  in  other  countries 
of  the  ancient  world,  by  rubbing  two  sticks  one  against 
the  other.  The  fire-stick,  therefore,  whose  point  was 
ignited  by  the  friction,  was  regarded  with  special  vene- 
tion.  The  idea  of  "fire "  was  expressed  by  two  ideographs 
(GIS-BAE  and  GIS-SIR)  which  signified  literally  "  the  wood 

1  So  the  Semitic  rendering.     The  original  has,  "  the  heaven  which 
has  no  exit  they  opened." 

2  Iphtael  of  idu,  "  to  know." 

3  In  the  original :  "  the  watch  of  the  thirty." 


of  light."  This  "  wood  of  light"  was  exalted  into  a  god. 
Sometimes  it  represents  Gibil  or  Kibir,  the  fire-god,  some 
times  it  is  itself  worshipped  as  a  divinity  under  the  name 
of  'Savul  (in  Semitic,  'Savullu).  'Savul  seems  to  have 
been  adored  more  particularly  in  Babylon ;  at  all  events 
he  was  identified  with  Merodach  as  well  as  with  Samas 
in  those  later  ages  when  the  cult  of  the  Accadian  fire- 
god  passed  into  the  cult  of  the  Semitic  Sun-god,  and  his 
name  forms  part  of  that  of  the  Babylonian  king  'Savul- 
sarra-yukin  or  Saosdukhinos,  the  brother  of  Assur-bani- 
pal.  It  even  made  its  way  into  the  far  west.  The  names 
of  the  kings  of  Edom  preserved  in  the  36th  chapter 
of  Genesis  throw  a  curious  light  on  Edomite  mythology, 
and  show  that  'Savul  of  Babylon  was  worshipped  among 
the  mountains  of  Seir.  We  are  told  that  Hadad  the  son 
of  Bedad,  Samlah  of  Masrekah  or  the  "  Vine-land,"  and 
Saul  of  Eehoboth  by  the  river  Euphrates,  succeeded  one 
another.  Now  Hadad,  as  we  shall  see,  was  the  Sun- 
god  of  the  Syrians,  whom  the  Assyrians  identified  with 
their  own  Eamman  or  Eimmon;  and  the  name  of  his 
father  Bedad  is  simply  Ben-Dad,  athe  son  of  Dad," 
another  form  of  Hadad  according  to  the  cuneiform  inscrip 
tions,  and  possibly  the  same  as  the  David  of  the  Hebrews, 
the  Dido,  or  "  beloved  one,"  of  the  Phoenicians.  Samlah 
of  the  "  Wine-land"  is  the  Semele  of  Greek  mythology, 
the  mother  of  Dionysos  the  Wine-god.  Her  Phoenician 
origin  has  long  been  recognised,  and  her  name  has 
recently  been  met  with  in  a  masculine  form  in  a  Phoe 
nician  inscription.  Saul  of  Eehoboth  by  the  river 
Euphrates  is,  letter  for  letter,  identical  with  the  Babylo 
nian  'Savul,  and  his  Babylonian  origin  is  further  betrayed 
by  the  statement  that  he  came  from  the  Euphrates, 

182  LECTURE   III. 

Eehoboth  means  merely  the  "public  places"  of  a  city ; 
and  when  we  remember  that  in  the  10th  chapter  of 
Genesis  (v.  11),  Eehoboth  ('Ir)  is  the  name  applied  to 
the  suburbs  of  Nineveh,  it  seems  probable  that  in  the 
Eehoboth  of  the  Euphrates  we  may  discover  the  suburbs 
of  its  sister-city  Babylon. 

Let  us  now  turn  back  again  to  Sippara,  the  city  whose 
Sun-god  swallowed  up  so  many  of  the  primeval  deities 
of  Accad,  like  the  Kroiios  of  Hellenic  myth.  Ey  the  side 
of  Sippara  of  Samas,  I  have  said,  arose  the  twin-city  of 
Sippara  of  Anunit.  The  final  dental  shows  that  Anunit 
was  a  female  divinity,  and  shows  furthermore  that  she 
was  of  Semitic  origin.  Eut  it  was  only  as  a  female 
divinity  that  she  came  from  a  Semitic  source.  She  was, 
in  fact,  the  Semitic  feminine  of  Anuna,  one  of  the  pri 
mordial  gods  of  ancient  Accad.  Amina,  it  would  appear, 
must  have  been  adored  in  Sippara  in  pre-Semitic  days, 
and  subsequently  worshipped  for  a  time  by  the  Semites, 
who  created  out  of  his  name  his  female  consort  Anunit. 
Anunit  was  identified  with  Istar,  and  thus  survived, 
while  her  lord  and  master,  to  whom  she  owed  her  very 
existence,  passed  into  almost  entire  oblivion.  For  this 
it  is  possible  to  assign  a  reason.  Anuna  signifies  "  the 
master,"  and  is  the  masculine  correlative  of  Innina  or 
Inina,  the  "mistress"  of  the  ghost- world,  to  whom  I 
have  had  occasion  to  refer  before.1  Like  Inina,  he  pre 
sided  over  the  lower  world,  and  was  consequently  the 
local  god  of  primitive  Sippara,  who  corresponded  to  the 
Mul-lil  of  Mpur.  Eut  the  name  was  also  a  general  one, 

1  As  Innina  stands  for  an  nina,  the  vowel  of  an,  "  divine  one,"  being 
assimilated  to  that  of  Nina,  Anuna  stands  for  an  nunat  "  the  great  god." 


and  might  be  applied  to  any  of  the  deities  whom  the 
Accadians  regarded  as  specially  endowed  with  power. 
Hence  it  is  that  in  a  bilingual  hymn  the  Anunas  of  the 
lower  world  are  called  "the  great  gods;"1  while  another 
text  declares  that  while  "the  great  gods  are  fifty  in 
number,  the  gods  of  destiny  are  seven  and  the  Aniina 
of  heaven  are  five."2  Besides  the  five  Anunas  of  the 
heaven,  there  were  the  more  famous  Anunas  of  the  lower 
world,  whose  golden  throne  was  placed  in  Hades  by  the 
side  of  the  waters  of  life.  They  were  called  the  Anii- 
na-ge,  "  the  masters  of  the  under- world,"  a  term  which 
the  Semites  pronounced  Aminaki.  These  Aminaki  were 
opposed  to  the  Igigi  or  angels,  the  spirits  of  the  upper 
air,  and,  the  real  origin  of  their  name  being  forgotten,  took 
the  place  of  the  older  Anunas.  In  one  of  the  texts  I 
have  quoted,  the  Semitic  translator  not  only  renders  the 
simple  Anunas  by  "  Aniinaki,"  he  even  speaks  of  the 
"  Aminaki  of  heaven,"  which  is  a  contradiction  in  terms.3 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  19,  8.     "  The  Aminas  of  the  lower  world  to  the  upper 
firmament  return."     The  hymn  must  be  of  Semitic  origin,  as  the  Acca- 
dian  version  shows  Semitic  influence.     Another  hymn  (ii.  19.  49,  50) 
declares  that  "  the  Anunas  of  the  lower  world  in  the  hollows  I  cause  to 
grope  like  swine."     In  a  hymn  in  which  the  Fire-god  is  identified  with 
Samas,  the  latter  is  called  "the  judge  of  the  Anunnaki"  (K2585, 
060.  9). 

2  K4629,  Rev. 

3  Upon  the  analogy  of  Aminaki,  the  Semites  have  added  a  final  gut 
tural  to  several  of  the  words  they  borrowed  from  the  Accadians,  like 
asun'aku,  "a  bed,"  from  the  Ace.  asurra.     Similarly  the  analogy  of 
issakku,  "  a  high-priest,"  from  the  Semitic  root  nasaku,  "  to  pour  out 
libations,"  has  called  into  existence  other  nouns  with  final  -akku.     The 
Accadian  abrik,  "a  vizier,"  borrowed  by  the  Semites  under  the  form  of 
abrikku  (82.  8—16.  Obv.  18),  whence  the  abhrek  of  Gen.  xli.  43  helped 
in  the  same  direction.     The  adverbs  in  -ku  of  Zimmern  (Babylonisclie 
Busspsdlmen,  p.  94),  like  martsaku  or  zazaku,  should  be  read  martsatus 
and  zazatus. 

184  LECTURE   III. 

Though  Anunit  was  considered  merely  a  local  form 
of  Istar  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  49,  12),  the  great  temple  of  Ulbar1 
— if  that  is  the  right  pronunciation  of  the  word — which 
had  been  erected  by  Zabu  about  B.C.  2340,  preserved 
her  special  name  and  cult  at  Sippara,  from  whence  it 
passed  into  Assyria.  ]STabonidos  tells  us  that  he  restored 
the  temple  "  for  Anunit,  the  mistress  of  battle,  the  bearer 
of  the  bow  and  quiver,  the  accomplisher  of  the  command 
of  Eel  her  father,  the  sweeper  away  of  the  enemy,  the 
destroyer  of  the  wicked,  who  marches  before  the  gods,  who 
has  made  (his)  omens  favourable  at  sunrise  and  sunset." 
In  calling  her  the  lady  of  battle  and  daughter  of  Bel, 
Nabonidos  identifies  her  with  Istar,  an  identification 
which  is  made  even  more  plain  a  few  lines  further  on 
(col.  iii.  42,  48 — 51),  where  he  makes  her  the  sister  of 
Samas  and  daughter  of  Sin. 

This  identity  of  Anunit  and  Istar  brings  Sippara  into 
close  connection  with  Erech,  the  modern  Warka,  the  city 
specially  consecrated  to  the  goddess  of  love.  Erech,  we 
are  told  in  the  story  of  the  plague-demon  Nerra,2  was 
"  the  seat  of  Anu  and  Istar,  the  city  of  the  choirs  of  the 
festival- girls  and  consecrated  maidens  of  Istar,"3  where 
in  E-Ana,  " the  house  of  heaven,"  dwelt  her  priests,  "the 
festival-makers  who  had  devoted  their  manhood  in  order 

1  The  word  is  found  in  R2.  i.  10,  (b)ennd  UL-BAR-MES  AN  u  KI  itWiuzu, 
"  the  lights  (?)  of  heaven  and  earth  kept  the  bond."     According  to 
W.  A.  I.  ii.  61,  11,  the  temple  of  Ulbar  was  in  Agadhe  or  Accad,  thus 
identifying  Accad  with  Sippara  of  Anunit,  and  suggesting  that  the  first 
foundations  of  the  temple  went  back  to  the  time  of  Sargon,  the  father 
of  Naram-Sin. 

2  Col.  ii.  4  sq. 

3  Kitsriti  samkhdtu  u  Jcharimdtu  sa  Istar.     For  samkhdtu 
comp.  Lev.  xxiii.  40,  Deut,  xii.  18, 


that  men  might  adore  the  goddess,  carrying  swords, 
carrying  razors,  stout  dresses  and  flint-knives,"1  "who 
minister  to  cause  reverence  for  the  glory  of  Istar."  2  Erech, 
too,  was  the  city  with  whose  fortunes  the  legend  of 
Gisdhubar  was  associated ;  it  was  here  that  he  slew  the 
bull  Anu  had  created  to  avenge  the  slight  offered  by 
him  to  Istar ]  and  it  was  here  in  Uruk  suburi,  "in  Erech 
the  shepherd's  hut,"  that  he  exercised  his  sovereignty. 
Erech  is  thus  connected  with  the  great  epic  of  the  Semitic 
Babylonians,  and  it  is  probable  that  its  author,  Sin-liqi- 
unnmi,  was  a  native  of  the  place.  However  this  may  be, 
Erech  appears  to  have  been  one  of  the  centres  of  Semitic 
influence  in  Babylonia  from  a  very  early  period.  The 
names  of  the  kings  stamped  upon  its  oldest  bricks  bear 
Semitic  names,  and  the  extent  to  which  the  worship  of 
Istar  as  developed  at  Erech  spread  through  the  Semitic 
world  points  to  its  antiquity  as  a  Semitic  settlement. 

It  was  not  of  Semitic  foundation,  however.  Its  earliest 
name  was  the  Accadian  Unu-ki  or  Unuk,  "the  place  of 
the  settlement,"  of  which  the  collateral  form  Uruk  does 
not  seem  to  have  come  into  vogue  before  the  Semitic 
period.  If  I  am  right  in  identifying  Unuk  with  the 
Enoch  of  Genesis,  the  city  built  by  Kain  in  commemora 
tion  of  his  first-born  son,  Unuk  must  be  regarded  as 
having  received  its  earliest  culture  from  Eridu,  since 
Enoch  was  the  son  of  Jared,  according  to  Gen.  v.  18,  and 
Jared  or  Irad  (Gen.  iv.  18)  is  the  same  word  as  Eridu.3 

1  Nas  padhri  nas  nagldbi  dupie  u  tsurri. 

2  Sa  ana  suplukli  kaptat  D.  P.  Istar  itakkcdu. 

3  Zeitschrift  fur  Keilschriftforschung,  ii.  4,  p.  404,  where  I  further 
suggest  that  the  name  represented  by  the  two  varying  forms  of  Methu- 
selakh  and  Methusael  should  be  Mutu-sa-ilati,  "the  husband  of  the 

186  LECTURE   III. 

The  local  god  of  Erech,  however,  was  not  Ea,  the  god 
of  the  river  and  sea,  but  Ana,  the  sky.  Thus  whereas 
at  Eridu  the  present  creation  was  believed  to  have  origi 
nated  out  of  water,  the  sky  being  the  primeval  goddess 
Zikum  or  Zigara,  mother  alike  of  Ea  and  the  other  gods, 
at  Erech  the  sky  was  itself  the  god  and  the  creator  of  the 
visible  universe.  The  two  cosmologies  are  antagonistic 
to  one  another,  and  produced  manifold  inconsistencies  in 
the  later  syncretic  age  of  Babylonian  religion. 

But  it  was  not  in  Erech  alone  that  the  sky  was  con 
sidered  divine.  Throughout  Chaldeea,  Ana,  "the  sky," 

goddess,"  i.e.  the  Sun-god  Tammuz,  the  husband  of  Istar.  He  had  a 
shrine  in  the  forest  of  Eridu,  while  Istar  was  the  presiding  deity  of 
Erech.  Lamech  would  be  the  Semitic  equivalent  of  Lamga,  a  name  of 
the  Moon-god,  according  to  ii.  47,  66,  when  represented  by  the  character 
which  had  the  pronunciation  of  nagar,  nangaru,  in  Semitic  (3.  572). 
Naga-r  is  probably  a  dialectic  form  of  Lamga.  In  S769.  1,  2,  the  ideo 
graph  preceded  by  AB,  "lord"  is  rendered  in  the  Semitic  line  by  gurgurru. 
Cp.  "  Nin-nagar,  the  great  workman  (nagar}  of  heaven,"  W.  A.  I.  iv. 
25,  27.  Adah  and  Zillah,  the  wives  of  Lamech,  would  correspond  with 
the  Assyrian  edu  and  tsillu,  "  darkness"  and  "  shade."  Jabal  and  Jubal, 
the  sons  of  Lamech,  are  merely  variant  forms  of  the  same  word,  which 
is  evidently  the  Assyrian  ablu,  "son"  (from  dbalu,  "to  bring  down"), 
like  Abel  (as  Dr.  Oppert  long  since  pointed  out).  Ablu  refers  us  to 
"the  only  son"  Tammuz  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  36,  54),  who  was  "a  shepherd" 
like  Jabal  and  Abel,  and  whose  untimely  death  was  commemorated  by 
the  musical  instruments  of  Jubal.  In  Kypros,  in  fact,  he  was  known  as 
the  son  of  Kinyras,  a  name  that  reminds  us  of  the  kinnor,  or  "harp." 
Adonis-Tammuz,  it  was  said,  was  slain  by  Ares  in  the  form  of  a  boar, 
and  Ares  was  identified  with  the  Babylonian  god  Adar  or  Uras  (see 
above,  p.  152),  "the  god  of  the  pig,"  whose  name  (AN-BAR)  was  used  ideo- 
graphically  to  denote  "iron,"  in  curious  parallelism  to  the  fact  that 
Tubal-Cain,  the  son  of  Lamech,  was  the  "  instructor  of  every  artificer 
in  brass  and  iron."  There  are  some  who  would  aver  that  the  Tubal- 
Cain  of  Genesis  is  but  the  double  of  Cain,  and  that  it  was  he  and  not 
his  father  Lamech  who  had  slain  the  "young  man"  (yeled,  Assyrian 
ilattu,  a  title  of  Tammuz).  Adar,  it  may  be  noticed,  was  "  the  lord  of 
the  date,"  and  therefore  of  agriculture  (see  above,  p.  153). 

THE    GODS    OF    BABYLONIA.  187 

received  worship,  and  the  oldest  magical  texts  invoke 
"the  spirit  of  the  sky"  by  the  side  of  that  of  the  earth. 
"What  distinguished  the  worship  of  Ana  at  Erech  was 
that  here  alone  he  was  the  chief  deity  of  the  local  cult, 
that  here  alone  he  had  ceased  to  be  a  subordinate  spirit, 
and  had  become  a  dingir  or  "  creator."1 

Of  this  pre-Semitic  period  in  the  worship  of  Ana  we 
know  but  little.  It  is  only  when  he  has  become  the  Aim 
of  the  Semites  and  has  undergone  considerable  changes 
in  his  character  and  worship,  that  we  make  our  first  true 
acquaintance  with  him.  We  come  to  know  him  as  the 
Semitic  Baal-samaim,  or  "  lord  of  heaven,"  the  supreme 
Baal,  viewed  no  longer  as  the  Sun-god,  but  as  the  whole 
expanse  of  heaven  which  is  illuminated  by  the  sun.2 

How  early  this  must  have  been  is  shown  by  the  exten 
sion  of  his  name  as  far  west  as  Palestine.  In  the  records 
of  the  Egyptian  conqueror  Thothmes  III.,  in  the  16th  cen 
tury  before  our  era,  mention  is  made  of  the  Palestinian 
town  of  Beth-Anath,  "the  temple  of  Anat,"  the  female 
double  of  Ami.  Another  Beth-Anath  was  included 
within  the  borders  of  the  tribe  of  Naphtali  (Josh.  xix. 

1  We  must  not  forget  that  in  many  passages  in  the  Proto-Chaldsean 
literature  ana  denotes  simply  "  the  sky,"  and  not  a  divine  being  at  all, 
though  the  Semitic  translators,  misled  by  the  determinative  of  divinity 
with  which  the  word  is  written,  have  usually  supposed  it  to  represent 
the  god  Anu. 

2  Compare  the  Phrenician  account  of  the  creation  as  reported  by 
Philo  Byblius  :  "  Of  the  wind  Kolpia  and  of  his  wife  Baau  (i.e.  Baku, 
lo/m),  which  is  interpreted  night,  were  begotten  two  mortal  men,  Aion 
and  Protogonos  so  called,  and  Aion  discovered  food  from  trees.    Those 
begotten  from  these  were  called  Genos  and  Genea  (1  Kain),  and  inha 
bited  Phoenicia,  and  when  great  droughts  came  they  stretched  forth 
their  hands  to  heaven,  towards  the  sun,  for  this  they  supposed  to  be 
the  only  god,  the  lord  of  heaven,  calling  him  Eeel-samin." 



38);  and  Anathoth,  whose  name  shows  us  that,  besides  the 
Ashtaroth  or  "Astartes,"  the  Canaanites  venerated  their 
local  goddesses  under  the  title  of  "Anats,"  was  a  city  of 
the  priests.  Anah  or  Anat  was  the  daughter  of  the  Hivite 
Zibeon  and  mother-in-law  of  Esau  (Gen.  xxxvi.  1,  14), 
and  by  her  side  we  hear  of  Anah  or  Anu,  the  son  of  the 
Horite  Zibeon,  who  "  found  the  mules  (or  hot-springs)  in 
the  wilderness  as  he  fed  the  asses  of  Zibeon  his  father." 
But  Anu  did  not  make  his  way  westward  alone.  In  the 
Assyrian  inscriptions  Anu  is  coupled  with  Dagan,  "the 
exalted  one,"1  whose  female  consort  seems  to  have  been 
Dalas  or  Salas.  Thus  Assur-natsir-pal  calls  himself  "the 
beloved  of  Anu  and  Dagon ;"  and  Sargon  asserts  that  he 
"had  extended  his  protection  over  the  city  of  Harran, 
and,  according  to  the  ordinance  of  Anu  and  Dagon,  had 
written  down  their  laws."  Here  Dagan  or  Dagon  is 
associated  with  Harran,  the  half-way  house,  as  it  were, 
between  the  Semites  of  Babylonia  and  the  Semites  of  the 
west.  From  Harran  we  can  trace  his  name  and  cult  to 
Pho3nicia.  Beth- Dagon  was  a  city  of  Asher,  in  the  neigh 
bourhood  of  Tyre  and  Zidon  (Josh.  xix.  27),  and  the 
fragments  of  Philon  Byblios,  the  Greek  translator  of  the 
Phoenician  writer  Sankhuniathon,  tell  us  expressly  that 
Dagon  was  a  Phoenician  god.  That  the  statement  is 
genuine  is  made  clear  by  the  false  etymology  assigned  to 
the  name,  from  the  Semitic  dag  an,  "  corn."2  But  it  was 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  20,  16  ;  79.  7-8.  68.     The  Accadian  da  means  "sum 
mit"  (W.  A.  I.  v.  21.  45.  6;  ii.  26,  49),  and  gan  is  the  participle  of 
the  substantive  verb.    In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  21,  Dagon  is  identified  with 
Mul-lil.     For  his  wife  Dalas  or  Salas,  see  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  22. 

2  "Ouranos,  succeeding  to  the  kingdom  of  his  father,   contracted 
marriage  with  his  sister  Ge,  and  had  by  her  four  sons,  Ilos  (El),  who 


among  the  Philistines  in  the  extreme  south  of  Palestine 
that  the  worship  of  Dagon  attained  its  chief  importance. 
Here  he  appears  to  have  been  exalted  into  a  Baal,  and 
to  have  become  the  supreme  deity  of  the  confederate 
Philistine  towns.  We  hear  of  his  temples  at  Gaza 
(Josh.  xvi.  21 — 30)  and  at  Ashdod  (1  Sam.  v.  1  sg.\  as 
well  as  of  a  town  of  Beth-Dagon,  and  we  gather  from 
the  account  given  of  his  image  that  he  was  represented 
as  a  man  with  head  and  hands. 

It  is  probable  that  the  worship  of  Anu  migrated  west 
ward  along  with  the  worship  of  Istar.  The  god  and 
goddess  of  Erech  could  not  well  be  dissociated  from  one 
another,  and  the  spread  of  the  worship  of  the  goddess 
among  the  Semitic  tribes  brought  with  it  the  spread  of 
the  worship  of  the  god  also.  I  am  inclined  to  think 
that  this  must  be  placed  at  least  as  early  as  the  age  of 
Sargon  of  Accad.  The  worship  of  Istar  found  its  way  to 
all  the  branches  of  the  Semitic  family  except  the  Arabic ; 
and,  as  we  shall  see  in  a  future  Lecture,  the  form  of  the 
name  Ashtoreth,  given  to  the  goddess  in  Canaan,  raises 
a  presumption  that  this  was  due,  not  to  the  campaigns 
of  the  early  Babylonian  kings,  but  to  the  still  earlier 
migrations  of  the  Semitic  population  towards  the  west. 
The  old  sky-god  of  the  Accadians  must  have  become  the 
Semitic  Anu  at  a  very  remote  period  indeed. 

But  it  was  the  sky-god  of  Erech  only.  It  does  not 
follow  that  where  the  divine  Ana,  or  "  sky,"  is  mentioned 

is  called  Kronos,  and  Betylos  (Bethel),  and  Dagon,  which  signifies 
corn,  and  Atlas  ....  Kronos  gave  (a  concubine  of  Ouranos)  in  marriage 
to  Dagon,  and  she  was  delivered  and  called  the  child  Demaroon  .... 
And  Dagon,  after  he  had  found  out  bread-corn  and  the  plough,  was 
called  Zeus  Arotrios." 

190  LECTURE    HI. 

in  the  Accadian  texts,  the  god  who  became  the  Semitic 
Ami  is  referred  to,  even  though  the  Semitic  translators 
of  the  texts  imagined  that  such  was  the  case.  There 
were  numerous  temples  in  Chaldgea  into  whose  names  the 
name  of  the  deified  sky  entered,  but  in  most  cases  this 
deified  sky  was  not  the  sky-god  of  Erech.  It  is  only 
where  the  names  have  been  given  in  Semitic  times,  or 
where  the  Accadian  texts  are  the  production  of  Semitic 
literati  composing  in  the  sacred  language  of  the  priests, 
like  the  monks  of  the  Middle  Ages,  that  we  may  see  the 
Anu  of  the  mythological  tablets.  "Without  doubt  the 
Semitic  scribes  have  often  confounded  their  Anu  with 
the  local  sky-god  of  the  ancient  documents,  but  this 
should  only  make  us  the  more  cautious  in  dealing  with 
their  work. 

The  original  sky-god  of  Erech  denoted  the  visible  sky. 
He  is  opposed  to  the  visible  earth,  and  was  consequently 
in  most  of  the  Chaldoean  cities  an  inferior  deity,  subor 
dinate  to  a  Mul-lil,  an  Ea  or  a  Sun-god,  who  ruled  over 
the  sky  and  the  earth.  But  when  the  Accadian  Ana 
became  the  Semitic  Anu,  he  assumed  a  more  spiritual 
character.  It  was  no  longer  the  visible  heaven  that  was 
represented  by  him,  but  an  invisible  one,  above  and 
beyond  the  heaven  that  we  behold.  Henceforward  "  the 
heaven  of  Anu"  denoted  the  serene  and  changeless  regions 
to  which  the  gods  fled  when  the  deluge  had  broken  up 
the  face  of  the  lower  heaven,  and  which  an  Assyrian  poot 
calls  "the  land  of  the  silver  sky."  It  was  to  this  spiri 
tualised  heaven  that  the  spirit  of  Ea-bani,  the  friend  of 
Gisdhubar,  ascended,  and  from  which  he  gazed  placidly 
on  the  turmoil  of  the  earth  below ;  and  it  was  from  his 
seat  therein  that  Anu  assigned  their  places  in  the  louver 

THE    GODS    OF    BABYLONIA.  191 

heaven  to  Samas,  Sin  and  Istar,  the  Sun,  the  Moon  and 
the  Evening  Star,  according  to  the  legend  of  the  seven 
wicked  spirits. 

But  the  spiritualisation  of  Anu  did  not  stop  here.  As 
a  Semitic  Baal  he  had  become  a  supreme  god,  the  lord 
and  father  of  the  universe.  It  was  only  a  step  further, 
therefore,  to  make  him  himself  the  universe,  and  to  resolve 
into  him  the  other  deities  of  the  Babylonian  pantheon. 
We  read  occasionally  in  the  hymns  of  "the  one  god." 
"The  ban,  the  ban,"  a  poet  writes,  personifying  the 
priestly  sentence  of  excommunication,  like  the  Ara  of 
JEskhylos  or  the  divine  burden  of  Zechariah  (ix.  1),  "is 
a  barrier  which  none  may  overpass  j1  the  barrier  of  the 
gods  against  which  they  cannot  transgress,  the  barrier  of 
heaven  and  earth  which  cannot  be  changed ;  the  one  god 
against  whom  none  may  rebel;  god  and  man  cannot 
explain  (it) ;  it  is  a  snare  not  to  be  passed  which  is 
formed  against  the  evil,  the  cord  of  a  snare  from  which 
there  is  no  exit  which  is  turned  against  the  evil."  The 
conception  of  Anu,  however,  as  "the  one  god"  was 
pantheistic  rather  than  monotheistic.  The  cosmological 
deities  of  an  older  phase  of  faith  were  in  the  first  instance 
resolved  into  him.  In  place  of  the  genealogical,  or  gnostic, 
system  which  we  find  in  the  account  of  the  Creation  in 
days,  we  have  a  pantheistic  system,  in  which  Lakhama 
and  the  other  primaeval  forces  of  nature  are  not  the 
parents  of  Anu,  but  are  identified  with  Anu  himself.2  It 
is  easy  to  conceive  how  the  old  deity  An-sar,  "  the  upper 
firmament,"  with  all  its  host  of  spirits,  might  be  iden- 

1  W.A.I.  iv.  16,  1. 

2  W.A.I,  ii.  54,  40,  "Lakhma  is  Anu,  the  god  of  the  hosts  ol 
heaven  and  earth."     So  in  ii.  54,  34,  &c.,  and  iii.  G9?  1. 

192  LECTURE    III. 

tified  with  him ;  but  when  we  find  Uras  also,  the  Sun-god 
of  Nipur,  made  one  with  Ann,  "the  hearer  of  prayer," 
and  the  eagle-like  Alala,  the  bridegroom  of  Istar  and 
double  of  Tammuz,  equally  resolved  into  the  god  of 
Erech,  it  is  plain  that  we  have  to  do  with  an  advanced 
stage  of  pantheism.  This  monotheistic,  or  rather  pan 
theistic,  school  of  faith  has  been  supposed  by  Sir  Henry 
Eawlinson  to  have  grown  up  at  Eridu ;  but  the  fact  that 
it  centres  round  the  name  of  Anu  points  rather  to  Erech 
as  its  birth-place.  How  long  it  flourished,  or  whether  it 
extended  beyond  a  narrow  group  of  priestly  thinkers,  we 
have  no  means  of  ascertaining.  It  is  interesting,  how 
ever,  as  showing  that  the  same  tendency  which  in  Assyria 
exalted  Assur  to  the  position  of  an  all-powerful  deity 
who  would  brook  neither  opposition  nor  unbelief,  among 
the  more  meditative  Babylonians  produced  a  crude  system 
of  pantheism.  Whatever  question  there  may  be  as  to 
whether  the  pure  and  unmixed  Semite  is  capable  of  ori 
ginating  a  pantheistic  form  of  faith,  there  can  be  little 
doubt  about  it  where  the  Semite  is  brought  into  close 
contact  with  an  alien  race.  The  difference  between  the 
Assyrian  and  the  Babylonian  was  the  difference  between 
the  purer  Semite  and  one  in  whose  veins  ran  a  copious 
stream  of  foreign  blood. 

The  early  importance  and  supremacy  of  Erech  in 
Semitic  Babylonia  caused  its  god  to  assume  a  place  by 
the  side  of  Ea  of  Eridu  and  Mul-lil,  the  older  Bel.  It 
is  possible  that  the  extension  of  his  cult  had  already 
begun  in  Accadian  days.  The  Ana,  or  Sky-god,  to  whom 
Gudea  at  Tel-loh  erected  a  temple,  may  have  been  the 
Sky-god  of  Erech,  more  especially  when  we  remember 
the  connection  that  existed  between  Erech  and  Eridu  on 


the  one  hand,  and  between  Tel-loh  and  Eridu  on  the 
other.1  However  this  may  be,  from  the  commencement 
of  the  Semitic  period  Ami  appears  as  the  first  member 
of  a  triad  which  consisted  of  Anu,  Bel  or  Mul-lil,  and  Ea. 
His  position  in  the  triad  was  due  to  the  leading  position 
held  by  Erech;  the  gods  of  ISTipur  and  Eridu  retained 
the  rank  which  their  time-honoured  sanctity  and  the 
general  extension  of  their  cult  had  long  secured  to  them  \ 
but  the  rank  of  Anu  was  derived  from  the  city  of  which 
he  was  the  presiding  god.  The  origin  of  the  triad  was 
thus  purely  accidental ;  there  was  nothing  in  the  religious 
conceptions  of  the  Babylonians  which  led  to  its  formation. 
Once  formed,  however,  it  was  inevitable  that  a  cosmolo- 
gical  colouring  should  be  given  to  it,  and  that  Anu,  Bel 
and  Ea,  should  represent  respectively  the  heaven,  the 
lower  world  and  the  watery  element.  Later  ages  likened 
this  cosmological  trinity  to  the  elemental  trinity  of  the 
Sun,  the  Moon  and  the  Evening  Star ;  and  below  the  triad 
of  Anu,  Bel  and  Ea,  was  accordingly  placed  the  triad  of 
of  Samas,  Sin  and  Istar.  But  this  secondary  trinity 
never  attracted  the  Babylonian  mind.  Up  to  the  last, 
as  we  have  seen,  Sin  continued  to  be  the  father  of  Samas 
and  Istar,  and  Babylonian  religion  remained  true  to  its 
primitive  tendency  to  dualism,  its  separation  of  the  divine 
world  into  male  and  female  deities.  The  only  genuine 
trinity  that  can  be  discovered  in  the  religious  faith  of 
early  Chalda3a  was  that  old  Accadian  system  which  con 
ceived  of  a  divine  father  and  mother  by  the  side  of  their 
son  the  Sun-god. 

1  The  importation  of  the  worship  of  Istar  into  Tel-loh,  with  her 
temple  of  E-ana,  or  "  house  of  heaven,"  would,  however,  fully  account 
for  the  importation  of  the  worship  of  Anu  at  the  same  time. 


194  LECTURE   III. 

The  Semitic  Ami  necessarily  produced  the  feminine 
Anat,  and  as  necessarily  Anat  was  identified  with  the 
earth  as  Ami  was  with  the  sky.  In  this  way  the  Acca- 
dian  idea  of  a  marriage  union  between  the  earth  and  the 
sky  was  adapted  to  the  newer  Semitic  beliefs.  But  we 
must  not  misunderstand  the  nature  of  the  adaptation. 
Anat  never  became  an  independent  deity,  as  Dav-kina, 
for  example,  had  been  from  the  outset;  she  had  no 
separate  existence  apart  from  Anu.  She  is  simply  a 
Bilat  matati,  "  a  mistress  of  the  world,"  or  &Bilat  Hi,  "  a 
mistress  of  the  gods,"  like  the  wife  of  Bel  or  of  Samas; 
she  is,  in  fact,  a  mere  colourless  representation  of  the 
female  principle  in  the  universe,  with  no  attributes  that 
distinguish  her  from  Anunit  or  Istar  except  the  single 
one  that  she  was  the  feminine  form  of  Anu.  Hence 
it  is  that  the  Canaanites  had  not  only  their  Ashtaroth, 
but  their  Anathoth  as  well,  for  the  Anathoth  or  "  Anats" 
differed  from  the  Ashtaroth  or  "Ashtoreths"  in  little 
else  than  name.  So  far  as  she  was  an  active  power,  Anat 
was  the  same  as  Istar;  in  all  other  respects  she  was 
merely  the  grammatical  complement  of  Anu,  the  goddess 
who  necessarily  stood  at  the  side  of  a  particular  god. 

There  are  still  two  other  gods  of  whom  I  must  speak 
before  I  conclude  this  Lecture — Nergal,  the  god  of  Cutha, 
and  Eamman  or  Eimmon,  the  air-god.  Nergal  occupies 
a  peculiar  position.  He  was  the  local  deity  of  the  town 
called  Gudua,  "the  resting-place,"  by  the  Accadians — a 
name  changed  by  the  Semites  into  Kutu  or  Cutha — which 
is  now  represented  by  the  mounds  of  Tel- Ibrahim.  For 
reasons  unknown  to  us,  the  necropolis  of  Cutha  became 
famous  at  an  early  time;  and  though  the  Babylonian 
kings,  like  the  kings  of  Assyria  and  Judah,  were  buried 


in  their  own  palaces,1  it  is  probable  that  many  of  their 
subjects  preferred  a  sepulchre  in  the  neighbourhood  of 

The  original  name  of  the  god  of  Gudua  was  Nerra  or 
Uer,  a  word  which  the  Semitic  scribes  render  by  gasru, 
"the  strong  one,"  and  less  accurately  namru,  "  the  bright 
one."2  Later  legends  had  much  to  say  about  this  ancient 
hero-god.  Like  Etdna,  his  throne  was  placed  in  Hades, 
where  he  sat  crowned,  awaiting  the  entrance  of  the  dead 
kings  of  the  earth.  But  the  hero-king  of  the  myths  was 
one  and  the  same  with  the  god  whom  his  primitive  wor 
shippers  at  Gudua  made  king  of  ardli  or  Hades.  He 
was,  in  fact,  the  personification  of  death.  Hence  his 
title  of  "the  strong  one,"  the  invincible  god  who  over 
powers  the  mightiest  of  mortal  things.  The  realm  over 
which  he  ruled  was  "the  great  city"  (uru-gaT)\  great, 
indeed,  it  must  have  been,  for  it  contained  all  the  multi 
tudes  of  men  who  had  passed  away  from  the  earth. 

Like  the  city  over  which  he  ruled,  the  god,  too,  was 
himself  "  great."  He  came,  therefore,  to  be  familiarly 
known  as  Nergal — Mrwal  in  the  dialect  of  Accad — "the 
great  Ner,"  or  "hero."  A  punning  etymology  connected 
his  name  with  "the  great  city"  (uru-gal\  as  if  it  had 
been  Ne(r)-uru-gal,  "the  ]N"er  of  Hades."  But  he  was 
also  "king  of  Cutha,"  as  well  as  of  "the  desert"  on 

1  See  the  dynastic  fragment  published  by  George   Smith  in  the 
Trans.  Sac.  Bib.  Arch.  iii.  2,  lines  27,  29,  30,  32,  34,  37. 

2  W.A.  I.  iv.  9,  36.     Ner  is  rendered  namru  in  K4245,  Rev.  13 
(where  "the  god  of  the  high  voice"  is  said  to  be  ner).     A  play  seems 
to  be  intended  on  gir  (ngir),  "  the  lightning-flash,"  which  was  nnmru 
in  Assyrian,  rendered  by  ner  in  W.A.I,  iv.  5,  15.     Numru  in  the 
Accado-Semitic  of  northern  Babylonia  was  written  in  rebus  fashion 
NUM-GIR,  i.e.  num-mir.    Nerra  was  pronounced  Ngirra ;  hence  the  gloss 


196  LECTURE   III. 

whose  borders  Cutlia  stood  and  where  its  necropolis  was 
probably  situated;  while  other  titles  made  him  "king  of 
heaven,"  "the  king  who  marches  before  Ann,"  "the 
king  Nerra,"  and  "the  mighty  sovereign  of  the  deep."1 
At  Cutha  he  had  been  known  in  pre-Semitic  days  as 
Aria,  "the  founder,"  and  his  worshippers  had  called  him 
Allamu  and  Almu,  the  god  "  who  issues  forth  in  might."2 
But  his  most  frequent  appellation  is  U-gur,  the  god  of 
"  the  falchion,"3  and  under  this  name  he  tended  to  become 
separate  from  Nergal,  the  god  of  the  tomb,  and  to  be 
regarded  as,  like  the  Sun-god  Adar,  the  champion  of  the 

It  was  as  the  death-dealing  lord  of  Hades  that  Nergal 
first  became  "the  hero  of  the  gods,"  "who  marches  in 
their  front."  The  metaphor  was  taken  from  the  champion 
who,  like  Goliath,  places  himself  before  his  comrades  and 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  5.     The  title  "king  of  heaven"  must  go  back  to 
days  when  the  sky-god  of  Erech  was  as  yet  unknown  at  Cutha,  while 
the  title  "great  king  of  the  deep"  indicates  a  connection  with  Eridu. 
In  Phoenicia,  we  are  told,  he  was  known  as  Sar-rabu,  "  the  great  king," 
and  among  the  Shuites  on  the  western  bank  of  the  Euphrates  as  Emu. 
Emu  is  letter  for  letter  the  national  god  of  the  Ammonites,  Ammi, 
which,  as  Dr.  Neubauer  has  shown,  appears  as  'Am  in  such  Hebrew 
names  as  Jerobo-am  and  Rehobo-am. 

2  Allam-ta-ea.     Allam  maybe  connected  with  alam,  "an  image," 
which  probably  has  the  same  root  as  alad,  "  a  colossus,"  dial  or  ala, 
"a  demon,"  alala,  "the  Sun-god,"  who  was  afterwards  identified  with 
Anu,  and  alim,  "  a  steer,"  literally  "  the  strong  animal."   But  the  word 
also  seems  to  have  been  read  'Sulim  (see  W.  A.  I.  ii.  61.  72,  73). 

8  W.  A.  I.  ii.  2,  342.  As  Ugur,  the  god  was  also  worshipped  as 
"Nergal  of  the  Tchddhi"  or  "apparitions"  (W.A.I,  iii.  67,  70).  In 
later  times  the  name  may  have  been  divided  into  U-gur,  "lord  of  the  '• 
gur"  which  would  then  have  been  confounded  with  gur,  "  the  deep" 
(in  Sumerian),  one  of  the  titles  of  Ea  being  En-gur,  "lord  of  the  deep" 
(W.  A.  I.  ii.  58,  53). 


challenges  the  enemy  to  combat.  It  is  thus  that  we  read 
in  the  story  of  the  Deluge,  when  the  flood  of  rain  and 
destruction  is  described  as  coming  upon  the  guilty  world : 
"  Eimmon  in  the  midst  of  (heaven)  thundered,  and  ]N"ebo 
and  the  Wind-god  went  in  front ;  the  throne-bearers  went 
over  mountain  and  plain;  Nergal  the  mighty  removes 
the  wicked ;  Adar  goes  in  front  and  casteth  down." l 

As  lord  of  Hades,  too,  he  was  made  the  son  of  Mul-lil. 
A  hymn  (K  5268),  the  colophon  of  which  tells  us  that  it 
was  composed  in  Cutha,  begins  with  the  words :  "  Let 
tergal  be  glorified,  the  hero  of  the  gods,  who  cometh 
forth  as  the  strong  one,  the  son  of  Mul-lil."  In  the  same 
hymn,  Marad  is  declared  to  be  his  city,  from  which  we 
may  infer  that  Marad  was  near  Cutha.  Its  protecting 
divinity,  however,  was,  strictly  speaking,  Lugal-tuda,  "the 
royal  offspring,"  or  perhaps  "  valiant  king,"  a  personi 
fication  of  the  thunder -cloud  and  lightning;  but  it  is 
evident  from  the  hymn  that  he  had  been  identified  with 
the  death-dealing  god  of  Cutha.  Of  Laz,  the  wife  of 
Nergal,  we  know  little  or  nothing.  Her  name  survived 
as  the  local  divinity  of  Cutha,  but  her  office  and  attri 
butes  were  taken  by  Allat.  Even  Nergal  himself  as 
the  lord  of  Hades  belongs  rather  to  the  Accadian  than 
to  the  Semitic  period.  Among  the  Semites  he  was  the 
hero  and  champion  of  the  gods,  and  as  such  the  destroyer 
of  the  wicked,  rather  than  the  king  of  death  who  slays 
alike  the  wicked  and  the  good.  The  sovereignty  of 
Hades  had  passed  out  of  his  hands,  and  he  had  become 

1  It  was  in  this  capacity  also  that  he  appears  as  Nerra,  the  plague- 
demon  (misread  Lubara  by  George  Smith),  whose  adventures  formed 
the  subject  of  a  long  poem. 

198  LECTURE    III. 

the  companion  of  the  solar  Adar  and  the  warrior  of  the 
gods  of  heaven. 

Under  his  old  name  of  Ner,  however,  a  curious  remi 
niscence  of  his  primitive  character  lasted  down  to  late 
times.  In  the  hymns  and  other  poetical  effusions,  we 
not  unfrequently  come  across  the  phrase,  "  mankind,  the 
cattle  of  the  god  !Ner."  I  have  already  drawn  attention 
to  the  agricultural  nature  of  early  Chaldsean  civilisation, 
and  the  influence  that  agriculture  had  upon  the  modes 
of  thought  and  expression  of  the  population.  Not  only 
was  the  sky  regarded  as  the  counterpart  of  the  Baby 
lonian  plain,  and  the  heavenly  bodies  transformed  into 
the  herds  and  flocks  that  fed  there,  but  the  human 
inhabitants  of  the  earth  were  themselves  likened  to  the 
cattle  they  pastured  and  fed.  One  of  the  earliest  titles 
of  the  Babylonian  kings  was  "  shepherd,"  reminding  us 
of  the  Homeric  TTOL^V  Aaw^  " shepherd  of  nations;"  and 
in  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar  the  sovereign  city  of  Erech  is 
termed  the  subur,  or  "  shepherd's  hut."  Just  as  the 
subjects  of  the  king,  therefore,  were  looked  upon  as  the 
sheep  whom  their  ruler  shepherded,  so  too  mankind  in 
general  were  regarded  as  the  cattle  slain  by  the  god  of 
death.  They  were,  in  fact,  his  herd,  whom  he  fed  and 
slaughtered  in  sacrifice  to  the  gods.1 

But  apart  from  phrases  of  this  kind,  which  embalmed 
the  beliefs  and  ideas  of  a  half -forgotten  age,  Nergal  of 
Cutha  was  a  decaying  godhead.  His  power  waned  with 

1  So  in  a  fragmentary  hymn  composed  by  order  of  Assur-bani-pal  on 
the  occasion  of  an  eclipse  of  the  moon,  mankind  are  called  "  the  people 
of  the  black  heads,  the  living  assembly  (pukliar  napisti\  the  cattle 
(pul)  of  the  god  Ner,  the  reptiles  (nammasse)  [whom]  thy  [governance] 
has  overlooked"  (K  2836,  Obv.  11—13). 


the  rise  and  growth  of  Semitic  influence  in  Babylonia. 
He  thus  formed  a  strong  contrast  to  the  god  of  the  air 
and  wind,  whose  cult  belongs  essentially  to  the  Semitic 

The  primitive  inhabitant  of  Babylonia  paid  a  special 
worship  to  the  winds.  He  beheld  in  them  spirits  of  good 
and  evil.  He  prayed  for  "the  good  wind"  which  cooled 
the  heats  of  summer  and  brought  moisture  to  the  parched 
earth,  and  he  saw  in  the  storm  and  tempest,  in  the  freez 
ing  blasts  of  winter  and  the  hot  wind  that  blew  from  the 
burning  desert,  "the  seven  evil  spirits."  They  were  the 
demons  "who  had  been  created  in  the  lower  part  of 
heaven,"  and  who  warred  against  the  Moon-god  when 
he  suffered  eclipse.  They  were  likened  to  all  that  was 
most  noxious  to  man.  The  first,  we  are  told,  was  "  the 
sword  (or  lightning)  of  rain ;"  the  second,  "  a  vampire  j"1 
the  third,  "a  leopard;"  the  fourth,  "a  serpent;"  the 
fifth,  "a  watch-dog"  (?);  the  sixth,  "a  violent  tempest 
which  (blows)  against  god  and  king ;"  and  the  seventh, 
"a  baleful  wind."  But  their  power  caused  them  to  be 
dreaded,  and  they  were  venerated  accordingly.  It  was 
remembered  that  they  were  not  essentially  evil.  They, 
too,  had  been  the  creation  of  Anu,  for  they  came  forth 
from  the  sky,  and  all  seven  were  "  the  messengers  of  Anu 
their  king."  In  the  war  of  the  gods  against  the  dragon 
of  chaos,  they  had  been  the  allies  of  Merodach.  "We 
read  of  them  that  ere  the  great  combat  began,  the  god 

1  Usumgdlu,  expressed  by  ideographs  that  signify  "the  solitary 
monster."  It  denoted  a  fabulous  beast  which  "  devoured  the  corpses 
of  the  dead"  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  19,  62),  and  was  therefore  not  exactly  a  vam 
pire,  which  devoured  the  living,  but  corresponded  rather  to  one  of  the 
creatures  mentioned  iu  Is.  xiii.  21,  22,  xxxiv.  14. 

200  LECTURE   III. 

"  created  the  evil  wind,  the  hostile  wind,  the  tempest, 
the  storm,  the  four  winds,  the  seven  winds,  the  whirl 
wind,  the  unceasing  wind."  "When  Merodach  had  slung 
forth  his  boomerang1  and  hit  the  dragon,  "  the  evil  wind 
that  seizes  behind  showed  its  face.  And  Tiamat  (the 
dragon  of  the  sea)  opened  her  mouth  to  swallow  it,  but 
(the  god)  made  the  evil  wind  descend  so  that  she  could 
not  close  her  lips ;  with  the  force  of  the  winds  he  filled 
her  stomach,  and  her  heart  was  sickened  and  her  mouth 
distorted."  Down  to  the  closing  days  of  the  Assyrian 
empire,  the  four  winds,  "the  gods  of  Nipur,"  were  still 
worshipped  in  Assyria  (W.A.I,  iii.  66,  Rev.  26),  and 
Saru,  the  Wind-god,  is  mentioned  as  a  separate  divinity 
in  the  story  of  the  Deluge. 

Among  the  winds  there  was  one  whose  name  awakened 
feelings  of  dread  in  the  mind  of  every  Babylonian.  This 
was  the  tempest,  called  mdtu  in  Accadian,2  and  dbub  in 
Semitic.  It  was  the  tempest  which  had  been  once  sent 
by  Bel  to  drown  guilty  mankind  in  the  waters  of  a  deluge, 
and  whose  return  as  the  minister  of  divine  vengeance 
was  therefore  ever  feared.  As  each  year  brought  with  it 
the  month  of  Sebat  or  January,  with  its  "  curse  of  rain," 
the  memory  of  that  terrible  event  rose  again  in  the  Baby- 

1  The  word  means  literally  "  the  cord  of  a  snare."     Zimmern  there 
fore  thinks  of  "net,"  but  the  sculptures  show  that  a  boomerang  is 

2  The  word  is  written  with  the  determinative  of  water  A.    It  is  pro 
bably  a  contraction  of  Martu,  since  in  the  name  of  the  god  who  after 
wards  came  to  correspond  to  the  Semitic  Ramman,  the  first  syllable  is 
represented  by  the  character  which  usually  has  the  value  of  mar.    But 
we  know  from  another  character  which  has  the  same  value  that  the 
same  word  could  assume  in  different  dialects  or  periods  of  Accadian  the 
varying  forms  of  mat,  mar  and  md. 


Ionian  mind.  Matu  was  a  god  whose  favour  had  to  be 
conciliated,  and  whose  name  accordingly  appears  on 
numbers  of  early  cylinders. 

But  though  Matu  was  thus  specially  identified  with 
the  great  tempest  which  formed  an  era  in  Babylonian 
history,  it  was  not  forgotten  that  he  was  but  one  of  several 
storm-gods,  who  were  therefore  spoken  of  as  "  the  gods 
Matu."1  Like  the  clouds,  they  were  children  of  the  sea, 
and  were  thus  included  in  the  family  of  Ea.  It  is  possible 
that  this  genealogy  was  due  to  the  systematising  labours 
of  a  later  day;  but  it  is  also  possible  that  the  gods  Matu 
were  primarily  adored  in  Eridu,  and  that  Eridu,  and  not 
Surippak,  was  the  original  city  of  the  Chaldsean  Noah. 
It  is  at  least  noticeable  that  the  immortal  home  of  the 
translated  Xisuthros  was  beyond  the  mouth  of  the  Eu 
phrates,  near  which  Eridu  was  built. 

If  Eridu  were  the  birth-place  of  Matu,  it  would  explain 
why  the  god  of  the  tempest  was  also  the  god  of  the 
western  wind.  Elsewhere  in  Babylonia,  the  western 
wind  blew  from  across  the  desert  and  brought  heat  with 
it  rather  than  rain.  But  in  those  remote  days,  when  the 
northern  portion  of  the  Persian  Gulf  had  not  as  yet  been 
filled  up  with  miles  of  alluvial  deposit,  a  westerly  breeze 
could  still  come  to  Eridu  across  the  water.  In  a  peni 
tential  psalm,2  Matu,  "the  lord  of  the  mountain"  (mulu 
mursamma-Ul)j  whose  wife,  "  the  lady  of  the  mountain," 
is  mentioned  on  the  monuments  of  Tel-loh,  is  invoked 
along  with  his  consort  Gubarra,  Ea,  "  the  sovereign  of 
heaven  and  earth  and  sovereign  of  Eridu,"  Dav-kina, 
Merodach,  Zarpanit,  Nebo  and  Nana—in  short,  along 

i  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56.  41,  42.  2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  21,  2, 

202  LECTURE   III. 

with  the  gods  of  Eridu  and  the  kindred  deities  of  Baby- 
ion.  It  is  true  that  the  Matu  of  this  psalm  is  not  the 
IVf  atu  of  the  west,  but  of  the  eastern  mountains  of  Elam ; 
we  have  seen,  however,  that  more  than  one  Matu  was 
worshipped  in  primitive  days,  and  it  is  the  cradle  and 
starting-point  of  the  name  which  we  are  now  seeking  to 

But  whether  or  not  Eridu  were  really  the  first  home 
of  the  cult  of  a  god  (or  gods)  Matu,  it  was  with  the 
west  that  he  came  to  be  chiefly  identified.  Titnim,  the 
old  Accadian  name  of  the  land  of  Canaan,  became  the 
land  of  Matu,  which  the  Semites,  who  faced  the  rising 
sun  in  their  prayers,  rendered  by  AMarru,  "  the  hinder 
country."  His  worship  was  carried  by  Arameean  tribes 
across  the  desert  to  Syria  and  Damascus.  But  before 
this  happened,  a  change  had  taken  place  in  the  character 
of  Matu  himself.  He  had  ceased  to  be  Accadian  and 
had  been  transformed  into  a  Semitic  god,  absorbing  into 
himself  at  the  same  time  the  name  and  attributes  of 
another  deity. 

This  other  deity  was  the  god  of  the  town  of  Muru,  who 
represented  the  air,  more  especially  the  atmosphere  when 
lighted  up  by  the  rays  of  the  sun.  His  Accadian  name 
was  Meri,  "the  exalted"  or  "  glorious,"  known  also  as 
Mer-mer,  "  the  very  glorious."  He  represented  what  the 
Semitic  Babylonians  termed  the  saruru,  or  "  shining  fir 
mament."  His  Accadian  name  was  literally  translated 
into  Semitic  as  Eamanu,  "  the  exalted  one,"  which  later 
generations  connected  with  a  root  signifying  "to  thunder," 
and  so  wrote  Eammanu  (for  Eamimanu),  "the  thun- 
derer."  The  Hebrew  Masoretes  started  yet  another  false 
etymology.  They  identified  the  word  with  rimmon^  "a 


pomegranate,"  and  punctuated  it  accordingly  in  the  pas 
sages  in  which  it  occurs  in  the  Old  Testament.  As, 
however,  the  form  Eimmon  has  thus  become  familiar  to 
English  ears,  while  Eamman  is  of  strange  sound,  it  is 
best  to  adhere  to  the  Hebraised  form  of  the  god's  name, 
in  spite  of  its  etymological  incorrectness.  Eimmon,  there  - 
fore,  and  not  Eaman  or  Eamman,  is  the  form  which  I 
shall  employ  in  these  Lectures.1 

Now  Eimmon,  as  we  learn  from  the  books  of  Kings, 
was  the  supreme  god  of  the  Syrians  of  Damascus.  He 
was  there  identified  with  the  Sun-god  Hadad,  the  all- 
powerful  Baal  of  the  northern  Syrian  tribes.  As  far 
south  as  the  plain  of  Jezreel,  according  to  Zechariah 
xii.  11,  the  worship  of  Hadad-Eimmon  was  celebrated, 
and  Hadad-Eimmon  is  but  a  compound  form  which  ex 
presses  the  identity  of  Eimmon  and  Hadad.  The  same 
fact  is  made  known  to  us  by  the  Assyrian  inscriptions. 
Not  only  has  Mr.  Pinches2  brought  to  light  a  series  of 
four  documents  belonging  to  the  beginning  of  the  reign 
of  Nabonidos,  in  which  mention  is  made  of  a  Syrian 
named  Bin-Addu-natanu  or  Ben-Hadad-nathan,  "  the  son 
of  Hadad  has  given;'7  we  find  also  the  names  of  Aramaean 
chieftains  written  with  the  ideographs  which  denote  the 
Assyrian  Eimmon,  but  pronounced,  as  variant  copies  of 
the  texts  inform  us,  as  Dadda  or  Dadi.  Thus  we  read 
of  a  North- Arabian  prince  called  Bir-Dada,  and  the  Ben- 
Hadad  of  Scripture  appears  as  Dadd-idri,  the  Biblical 

1  The  name  of  Ramman  is  preserved  in  the  Sosarmos  of  Ktesias, 
•which  represents  the  Samas  (Sawas)- Eamman  of  the  monuments, — 
a  sufficient  indication  of  the  way  in  which  the  god's  name  was  pro 
nounced  in  Assyria. 

2  Guide  to  the  Nimroiid  Central  Saloon,  pp.  92,  93. 

204  LECTURE   III. 

Hadad-ezer,  in  the  records  of  Shalmaneser  II.  The  name 
made  its  way  to  the  non-Semitic  tribes  of  the  Taurus. 
A  Komagenian  sovereign  bears  the  name  of  Kigiri-Dada, 
which  appears  also  under  the  abbreviated  form  of  Giri- 
Dadi;  and  Dalilu  was  a  Kaskian  or  Kolkhian  king  in 
the  time  of  Tiglath-Pileser  III. ;  while  Dadi  was  a  ruler 
of  Khubuskia,  to  the  south-west  of  Armenia.  That  Hadad 
was  adored  even  in  Edom  is  shown  by  the  names  of  the 
Edomite  kings,  Hadad  the  son  of  Bedad,  and  Hadad  the 
adversary  of  Solomon. 

In  Bedad,  which  stands  for  Ben-Dad,  the  exact  equiva 
lent  of  Ben-Hadad,  we  meet  with  the  same  shortened 
form  of  the  name  as  that  which  we  find  in  the  Assyrian 
inscriptions.  It  is  possible,  therefore,  that  it  was  confused 
with  another  title  of  the  Sun-god  in  Canaan,  Dod  or  David, 
"the  beloved  one,"  the  feminine  correlative  of  which  is 
found  in  the  familiar  Dido.  Dido  was  the  goddess  of 
Carthage,  not  unnaturally  confounded,  by  the  piety  of 
later  ages,  with  Elissa,  the  foundress  of  the  city.  Like 
Hadad  of  Edom,  David  of  Israel  will  thus  have  borne  a 
name  which  the  people  about  him  applied  to^  their  sove 
reign  god.  It  may  be  that  those  scholars  are  right  who 
believe  that  the  real  name  of  the  sweet  psalmist  of  Israel 
was  El-hanan  or  Baal-hanan ;  if  so,  David  will  have  been 
a  popular  title  derived  from  a  popular  appellation  of  the 
Deity.  He  will  thus  have  shared  the  fate  of  his  son  and 
successor,  whose  true  name  Jedidiah  was  changed  into 
Solomon — the  name  of  the  old  Semitic  "  god  of  peace" — 
when  David  sat  at  rest  within  the  walls  of  his  new 
capital,  Jerusalem,  the  city  of  "  peace, ''  and  had  rest  from 
his  enemies  on  every  side.1 

1  See  above,  p.  57. 


Hadad,  Addu  or  Dadda,  never  superseded  the  native 
name  of  Eamanu  (Kamman)  in  Babylonia  and  Assyria, 
and  remained  foreign  to  the  last.  Eamanu,  however,  was 
sometimes  addressed  as  Barqu  or  Barak,  "  the  lightning;" 
and  it  is  possible  that  antiquarian  zeal  may  have  also 
sometimes  imposed  on  him  the  Accadian  title  of  Meru. 
He  grew  continuously  in  popular  favour.  In  Semitic 
Babylonia,  and  yet  more  in  Semitic  Assyria,  his  aid  was 
constantly  invoked;  and,  like  Anu,  Bel  and  Ea,  he  tended 
as  time  went  on  to  become  more  and  more  national  in 
character.  Eamman  is  one  of  the  least  local  of  Baby 
lonian  gods. 

This  was  due  in  great  measure  to  the  nature  of  his 
origin.  He  began  as  the  amalgamation  of  two  distinct 
deities,  the  wind-god  and  the  air-god,  and  the  extension 
of  his  cult  was  marked  by  the  absorption  into  his  person 
of  the  various  deities  of  the  winds  adored  by  the  older 
faith.  He  continued  to  grow  at  their  expense.  The 
spirits  of  the  winds  and  storms  sank  lower  and  lower; 
and  while  the  beneficent  side  of  their  operation  attached 
itself  to  Eamman,  there  remained  to  them  only  that  side 
which  was  harmful  and  demoniac. 

The  evolution  illustrates  the  way  in  which  the  Baby 
lonian  sought  to  solve  the  mystery  of  evil.  The  divine 
powers  he  worshipped  had  once  been  alike  the  creators 
of  good  and  the  creators  of  evil ;  like  the  powers  of  nature 
which  they  represented,  they  had  been  at  once  beneficent 
and  malevolent.  By  degrees,  the  two  aspects  of  their 
character  came  to  be  separated.  The  higher  gods  came 
to  be  looked  upon  as  the  hearers  of  prayer  and  the 
bestowers  of  all  good  gifts;  while  the  instruments  of 
their  vengeance  and  the  inflictors  of  suffering  and  misery 

206  LECTUEE   III. 

upon  man  were  the  inferior  spirits  of  the  lower  sphere. 
But  the  old  conception,  which  derived  both  good  and  evil 
from  the  same  source,  did  not  wholly  pass  away.  Evil 
never  came  to  be  regarded  as  the  antagonist  of  good ;  it 
was  rather  the  necessary  complement  and  minister  of  good. 
The  supreme  Baal  thus  preserved  his  omnipotence,  while 
at  the  same  time  the  ideas  of  pain  and  injustice  were 
dissociated  from  him.  In  his  combat  with  the  dragon  of 
chaos,  Merodach  summons  the  "evil  wind"  itself  to 
his  assistance;  and  in  the  legend  of  the  assault  of  the 
seven  wicked  spirits  upon  the  Moon,  they  are  nevertheless 
called  "  the  messengers  of  Anu  their  king."  Nerra,  the 
god  of  plague  and  destruction,  smites  the  people  of  Baby 
lonia  on  account  of  their  sins  by  the  command  of  the 
gods,  like  the  angel  with  the  drawn  sword  whom  David 
saw  standing  over  Jerusalem  at  the  threshing-floor  of 
Araunah ;  and  in  the  story  of  the  Deluge  it  is  because 
of  the  wickedness  of  mankind  that  the  flood  is  brought 
upon  the  earth.  The  powers  of  darkness  are  degraded 
from  their  ancient  position  of  independence,  and  either 
driven,  like  Tiamat,  beyond  the  bounds  of  the  created 
world,  or  reduced  to  the  condition  of  ministers  of  divine 

If  we  would  realise  how  widely  removed  is  this  con 
ception  of  them  as  the  instruments  of  divine  anger  from 
that  earlier  view  in  which  they  are  mere  elemental 
powers,  in  themselves  neither  good  nor  evil,  we  cannot 
do  better  than  compare  these  legendary  compositions  of 
the  Semitic  period  with  the  old  Accadian  hymns  that 
relate  to  the  seven  harmful  spirits.  Let  us  listen  to  one, 
for  instance,  which  probably  emanated  from  Eridu  and 
applied  originally  to  the  "Malu  gods:" 


1.  "  They  are  the  destructive  reptiles,  even  the  winds  that  create 

evil ! 

2.  as  an  evil  reptile,  as  an  evil  wind,  do  they  appear  ! 

3.  as  an  evil  reptile,  as  an  evil  wind,  who  marches  in  front  are 


4.  Children  monstrous  (gitmalutu),  monstrous  sons  are  they  ! 

5.  Messengers  of  the  pest-demon  are  they  ! 

6.  Throne-bearers  of  the  goddess  of  Hades  are  they  ! 

7.  The  whirlwind  (mdtu)  which  is  poured  upon  the  land  are  they  ! 

8.  The  seven  are  gods  of  the  wide-spread  heaven. 

9.  The  seven  are  gods  of  the  wide-spread  earth. 

10.  The  seven  are  gods  of  the  (four)  zones. 

11.  The  seven  are  gods  seven  in  number.1 

12.  Seven  evil  gods  are  they  ! 

13.  Seven  evil  demons  are  they  ! 

14.  Seven  evil  consuming  spirits  are  they  ' 

15.  In  heaven  are  they  seven,  in  earth  are  they  seven  !"2 

Another  poet  of  Eridu,  in  a  hymn  to  the  Fire-god, 
speaks  of  the  seven  spirits  in  similar  language : 

1  The  Semitic  translator  misrenders  :   "  gods  of  the  hosts  (of  the 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  1.  ii.   65 — iii.  26.     The  hymn  is  interrupted  by  a 
magical  text,  a  later  portion  of  it  being  quoted  further  on  (2.  v.  30 — 59) 
as  follows  : 

1.  "  Seven  are  they,  seven  are  they  ! 

2.  In  the  hollow  of  the  deep,  seven  are  they  ! 

3.  (In)  the  glory  of  heaven,  seven  are  they  ! 

4.  In  the  hollow  of  the  deep  in  a  palace  grew  they  up  !     (In  the 

original,  "from  the  hollow  ....  came  they  forth"). 

5.  Male  they  are  not,  female  they  are  not ! 

6.  They  are  the  dust-storm,  the  travelled  ones  (?)  are  they  ! 

7.  "Wife  they  possess  not,  child  is  unborn  to  them. 

8.  Order  and  kindliness  know  they  not. 

9.  They  hearken  not  to  prayer  and  supplication. 

10.  From  the  horse  of  the  mountain  came  they  forth. 

11.  Of  Ea  are  they  the  foes. 

12.  The  throne-bearers  of  the  gods  are  they. 

13.  To  trouble  the  canal  in  the  street  are  they  set. 

14.  Evil  are  they,  evil  are  they  ! 

15.  Seven  are  they,  seven  are  they,  seven  doubly  said  are  they!" 

208  LECTURE   III. 

"  O  god  of  Fire,"  he  asks,  "  how  were  those  seven  begotten,  how 

grew  they  up  ? 

Those  seven  in  the  mountain  of  the  sunset  were  born ; 
those  seven  in  the  mountain  of  the  sunrise  grew  up." 

Throughout  they  are  regarded  as  elemental  powers, 
and  their  true  character  as  destructive  winds  and  tempests 
is  but  thinly  veiled  by  a  cloak  of  poetic  imagery.  But 
it  will  be  noticed  that  they  already  belong  to  the  harm 
ful  side  of  nature ;  and  though  the  word  which  I  have 
rendered  "  evil,"  after  the  example  of  the  Semitic  trans 
lators,  means  rather  "  injurious"  than  "  evil"  in  our  sense 
of  the  word,  they  are  already  the  products  of  night  and 
darkness ;  their  birth-place  is  the  mountain  behind  which 
the  sun  sinks  into  the  gloomy  lower  world.  In  the  22nd 
book  of  the  great  work  on  Astronomy,  compiled  for  Sar- 
gon  of  Accad,  they  are  termed  "the  seven  great  spirits" 
or  galli^  and  it  is  therefore  possible  that  they  had  already 
been  identified  with  the  "seven  gods  of  destiny,"  the 
Aniina-ge  or  "  spirits  of  the  lower  world,"  of  the  cult  of 

In  their  gradual  development  into  the  Semite  Eimmon, 
the  spirits  of  the  air  underwent  a  change  of  parentage. 
Matu,  as  we  have  seen,  was,  like  his  kindred  wind-gods 
of  Eridu,  the  offspring  of  Ea.  But  the  home  of  the  wind 
is  rather  the  sky  than  the  deep,  and  Meri,  "the  shining 
firmament,"  was  naturally  associated  with  the  sky.  "When 
Ana,  "the  sky,"  therefore,  became  the  Semitic  Anu, 
Eimmon,  who  united  in  himself  Matu  and  Meri  and  other 
local  gods  of  wind  and  weather  as  well,  was  made  his 
son.  It  is  possible  that  there  was  another  cause  working 

1  W.A.I,  iii.  62,  12.     Gdllu  was  a  loan-word  from  the  Sumerian 
(/alia,  mulla  in  Accadian. 


towards  the  same  result.  In  Syria,  Eimmon  was  iden 
tified  with  Hadad  the  Sun-god,  and  there  are  indications 
that  in  parts  of  Babylonia  also  he  had  at  one  time  a  solar 
character.  As  Meri  (or  Meru),  he  could  easily  pass  into 
a  solar  divinity,  more  especially  as  the  re -duplicated 
Mer-mer,  "  the  most  glorious,"  was  a  title  of  the  meridian 
Sun,  who  was  identified  in  later  days  with  Adar  of  Nipur,1 
while  it  was  also  the  name  of  Eimmon  himself  as  adored 
in  one  of  the  smaller  towns  of  Chaldsea.2  We  are  told, 
moreover,  that  Eimmon  was  the  god  who  had  gone  under 
the  Accadian  appellation  of  TJtu-edma-guba,  "  the  ever- 
glowing  sun  of  the  desert."3  The  elements,  therefore, 
existed  among  the  Babylonians,  as  well  as  among  the 
Aramseans,  out  of  which  Eimmon  could  have  been  trans 
formed  into  a  solar  deity ;  it  was  only  the  stronger  non- 
Semitic  influence  which  caused  them  to  be  displaced  by 
the  associations  and  conceptions  that  confined  his  sphere 
to  the  air.  Eimmon,  accordingly,  among  the  Babylonians 
and  Assyrians,  is  the  god  of  winds  and  cloud,  of  thunder 
and  lightning,  of  storm  and  rain;  he  is  the  inundator 
who  is  called  upon  to  cover  the  fields  of  the  impious  and 
unjust  with  water,  and  to  pour  his  refreshing  streams 
into  a  thirsty  land.  His  wife  went  by  the  Accadian 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  76. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  35.     "  Nebo,  the  binder  of  law,"  is  also  identified 
with  "the  god  Mermer"  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  60,  37,  but  this  was  in  refer 
ence  to  Nebo's  original  character  as  the  god  of  the  visible  universe,  who 
bound  its  several  parts  together.    When  mermer  is  explained  by  mekh  u, 
"storm,"  in  W.  A.  I.  v.  11,  46,  nothing  more  is  meant  than  that  the 
god  Mermer  had  come  to  represent  the  storm.     It  is  an  illustration 
of  the  caution  needed  in  dealing  with  the  statements  of  the  so-called 
lexical  lists. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  49,  30. 

210  LECTUBE   III. 

name  of  Sala,  "the  merciful"  (?).1  As  her  husband  had 
been  identified  with  "  the  lord  of  the  mountain,"  so  she 
too  was  identified  with  "the  lady  of  the  mountain,"2  to 
whom  Gudea  had  built  a  temple  at  Tel-loh.  As  "lady 
of  the  mountain,"  however,  she  was  more  strictly  the  con 
sort  of  the  Sun-god  of  Eridu ;  and  a  mythological  tablet 
speaks  accordingly  of  a  "  Sala  of  the  mountains,  the  wife 
of  Merodach."  3  It  is  to  Zarpanit,  the  wife  of  Merodach, 
again,  and  not  to  Sala,  that  Nebuchadnezzar  refers,  when 
he  tells  us  how  he  "  built  in  Babylon  the  House  Supreme, 
the  temple  of  the  lady  of  the  mountain,  for  the  exalted 
goddess,  the  mother  who  had  borne"  him.  Sala  and 
Zarpanit,  therefore,  must  once  have  been  one  and  the 
same  divinity. 

1  The  Accadian  equivalent  of  riminu,  "  merciful,"  is  written  with 
the  ideographs  sag  or  sa,  "heart,"  lal  or  la,  " filling,"  and  sud  or  su, 
"extending"  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  9,  27,  &c.).     But  the  final  character  is  pro 
bably  a  determinative  only,  giving  the  idea  of  "long-suffering,"  in 
which  case  we  should  read  sola  instead  of  salasu.     In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  19, 
41,  the  word  is  apparently  written  phonetically,  as  sag-lil-da  ;  if  so,  wo 
must  read  saglal  instead  of  sola.    The  name  of  the  goddess  might  then 
be  explained  as  "  woman,"  sola  having  this  meaning  in  Accadian.    The 
name  seems  to  be  interpreted  "the  goddess  of  reptiles"  (naltsi  and 
namse\  as  well  as  "  the  lady  of  the  place  of  gold,"  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57, 
33  (where,  by  the  way,  the  character  DIL  has  the  meaning  of  "place," 
which  it  has  in  Amardian  or  "  Protomedic,"  and  in  GIS-DIL-TB,  the  ideo 
graphic  mode  of  writing  guza,  "a  throne").      The  mountains,  more 
especially  those  of  the  north,  were  "  the  land  of  gold." 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  33. 

3  In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  67,  34,  Sala  is  stated  to  be  "the  wife  of  Mul-lil 
in  the  ghost-world."     But  this  seems  to  refer  only  to  Mul-lil  as  the  \ 
Semitic  Bel,  a  Sun-god  who  rules  among  the  shades  below.     It  is  thus  i 
that  she  is  called  the  wife  of  Duzu  or  Tammuz  (ii.  57,  34)  like  A  (ii.  ; 
57,  12).     She  was,  in  fact,  originally  the  goddess  of  the  Sun,  and  con- 1 
sequently  her  connection  with  Ram  man  must  have  been  the  result  of 
his  amalgamation  with  Mer  or  Mermer. 


Sala  was,  furthermore,  the  "lady  (or  exalted  lady)  of 
the  desert" — a  title  which  brings  to  one's  recollection 
the  similar  title  of  Eimmon,  as  "  the  ever-glowing  sun 
of  the  desert-land."  It  is  under  this  title  that  she  is 
addressed  in  a  penitential  psalm,  where  she  is  named, 
not  Sala,  but  Gubara,  "  the  fire-name,"  and  associated 
with  Matu  (Mato),  "the  lord  of  the  mountain."1  As 
the  other  deities  invoked  along  with  her  are  Ea  and 
Dav-kina,  Merodach  and  Zarpanit,  Nebo  and  Tasmit, 
while  the  whole  psalm  is  dedicated  to  INana,  the  goddess 
of  Erech,  it  is  clear  that  the  psalm  is  the  composition 
of  a  worshipper  of  Nana  and  native  of  Erech,  whose  gods 
were  the  gods  of  Eridu  and  those  who  claimed  kindred 
with  them. 

"We  may,  therefore,  see  in  the  primitive  Sala  the  female 
consort  of  the  Sun-god  of  Eridu — the  original,  in  fact,  of 
the  Babylonian  Zarpanit,  who  became  identified  on  the 
one  side  with  the  "lady  of  the  mountain,"  and  on  the 
other  with  the  wife  of  Meri,  the  "bright  firmament"  of 
the  starry  sky.  Her  name,  Gubara,  points  to  her  solar 
connection,  and  makes  it  probable  that  she  was  not  the 
moon — which  does  not  seem  to  have  been  regarded  as 
a  goddess  in  any  part  of  Babylonia — nor  the  dawn,  but 
the  evening  and  morning  star.  This  will  explain  why 
it  is  that  she  was  known  as  the  goddess  of  the  mountains, 
over  whose  heights  Yenus  arose  and  set,  or  as  the  mistress 
of  wisdom  and  hidden  treasure,  or,  again,  as  the  goddess 
of  the  copper  hand.2  Other  mythologies  have  stories  of 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  21,  No.  2. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  35.     The  Sun-god  Savitar  is  called  "  the  golden- 
handed  "  in  the  Veda,  a  term  explained  in  later  Sanskrit  literature  by 
the  statement  that  the  hand  of  the  god  had  been  cut  at  a  sacrifice  and 

p  2 

212  LECTURE    III. 

a  solar  hero  whose  hand  has  been  cut  off  and  replaced 
by  one  of  gold  and  bronze,  and  it  is  in  the  light  of  such 
stories  that  the  epithet  must  be  explained.  "We  are 
expressly  told  that  Sala  of  the  copper  hand  was  the  wife 
of  Tammuz,  the  beautiful  Sun-god  of  Eridu;1  and  we 
know  that  Tammuz,  the  son  of  the  Eiver-god  Ea,2  was 
the  spouse  of  Istar,  the  evening  star.  What  wonder, 
then,  that  her  later  husband  Eimmon  should  have  become 
the  Sun-god  of  the  Syrians,  whose  untimely  death  was 
mourned  in  the  plain  of  Jezreel,  as  the  untimely  death 
of  his  double,  the  Babylonian  Tammuz,  was  mourned  by 
the  women  of  Phoenicia  and  Jerusalem  ? 

I  must  reserve  the  story  of  Tammuz  and  Istar  for 
another  Lecture.  We  have  almost  completed  now  our 
survey  of  the  principal  deities  of  Babylonia,  of  those  who 
in  the  struggle  for  existence  outdistanced  their  compeers, 
and  in  the  official  inscriptions  of  Assyria  and  later  Baby 
lonia  appear  at  the  head  of  the  divine  hierarchy.  Purely 
local  in  their  origin,  their  worship  gradually  extended 
itself  chiefly  through  the  influence  of  the  cities  that  wor 
shipped  them,  and  absorbed  at  the  same  time  the  local 
cults  that  came  in  their  way.  The  adoption  of  Accadian 
forms  of  worship  by  the  Semites  was  accompanied  by  a 
process  of  generalisation  and  systematisation.  The  reli 
gion  of  Accad  was  adapted  to  the  religious  ideas  of  the 
Semites,  and  was  transformed  accordingly.  The  Baalim  of 
the  Semite  took  the  place  of  the  dingirene  or  "  creators"  of 
the  Accadian.  The  Sun-god  assumed  a  new  and  impor- 

replaced  by  a  golden  one.  The  Teutonic  Tyr  is  similarly  one-handed, 
and  the  Keltic  Nuad  with  the  silver  hand  offers  a  close  parallel  to  the 
Chaldaean  goddess  with  the  copper  hand. 

i  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  34.  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  31. 


tant  place.  Wherever  the  Semite  was  wholly  triumph 
ant,  wherever  he  succeeded  in  founding  an  empire,  as  at 
Sippara  and  Babylon,  the  Sun-god  acquired  undisputed 
sway.  "Wherever  the  older  population  maintained  its 
ground,  as  at  Nipur  or  Eridu,  the  older  deities,  leavened 
and  transformed  though  they  may  have  been  by  Semitic 
thought,  still  continued  to  hold  their  own.  In  places 
like  Erech,  where  Accadian  and  Semitic  influences  seem 
to  have  long  struggled  for  the  mastery,  the  old  sky-god 
remained  indeed  in  name,  but  was  changed  into  a  Semitic 

But  the  process  of  transformation  was  long,  and  it 
needed  many  centuries  before  it  was  complete.  We 
have  glimpses  out  of  the  distant  past  of  a  time  when  the 
two  populations  lived  side  by  side  in  peace  or  war,  fight 
ing,  trading  and  intermarrying,  of  Semitic  conquerors 
filling  their  courts  with  Accadian  scribes  and  patronising 
the  study  of  Accadian  literature,  and  of  Accadian  dynasties 
Arising  at  times  in  Semitic  states.  Babylonia  in  those 
days  must  have  afforded  a  close  parallel  to  Egypt  during 
the  centuries  of  Hyksos  dominion.  The  Semitic  invaders 
of  Egypt  soon  submitted  to  the  spell  of  the  higher  culture 
in  the  midst  of  which  they  found  themselves.  They 
borrowed  the  titles  of  the  Pharaohs ;  they  patronised  the 
learning  of  their  Egyptian  subjects;  and  while  asserting 
the  supremacy  of  their  own  Baal  Sutekh,  they  yet  identi 
fied  him  with  the  Egyptian  Set  and  adopted  the  divinities 
of  the  Egyptian  pantheon.  The  learned  court  of  an 
Apepi  Ea-aa-user,  which  produced  one  of  the  two  treatises 
on  Egyptian  geometry  that  have  survived  to  us,  offers  a 
close  parallel  to  the  court  of  a  Sargon  of  Accad,  which 

214  LECTURE    III. 

witnessed  the  compilation  of  the  standard  Babylonian 
works  on  astrology  and  terrestrial  omens. 

But  there  was  one  important  difference  between  Egypt 
and  Babylonia.  "With  the  help  of  Nubian  allies,  the 
Egyptians  of  the  south  succeeded,  after  five  hundred 
years  of  submission,  in  driving  the  Semitic  stranger  from 
the  northern  land  he  had  made  his  own.  The  older 
population  of  southern  Babylonia  was  never  so  fortunate. 
The  Semite  had  come  into  Chaldeea  not  only  as  a  warrior, 
but  as  a  trader  as  well.  He  had  planted  himself  too 
firmly  in  the  cities  of  the  north  to  be  ever  expelled.  In 
Genesis  we  see  Mmrod,  the  representative  of  Semitic 
domination,  establishing  his  kingdom,  not  only  in  Babel 
and  Erech  and  Accad,  but  also  in  Calneh  or  Kulunu  in 
Shinar  (Sumer)  of  the  south.  And  a  time  came  when 
Calneh  ceased  to  be  the  only  state  of  Sumer  which 
acknowledged  the  supremacy  of  the  foreigner.  Eridu 
itself,  the  sacred  city  of  an  immemorial  past,  the  primal 
home  of  Chaldeean  culture,  became  Semitic,  and  the 
monarchs  of  Babylonia  assumed  the  imperial  title  of 
kings  of  Accad  and  Sumer. 

But  all  this  happened  long  before  the  age  of  Kham- 
muragas,  with  whom  the  history  of  the  city  of  Babylon 
begins.  The  Babylonia  of  Khammuragas  differs  but 
little  from  the  Babylonia  of  Nabonidos.  The  religious 
system  of  the  country  is  already  fully  formed.  Nay, 
more;  already  in  the  remote  age  of  Sargon  of  Accad 
there  are  indications  that  the  process  of  assimilation  and 
absorption  had  long  been  at  work.  The  son  and  suc 
cessor  of  Sargon  was  Naram-Sin,  "the  beloved  of  the 
Moon-god,"  a  sign  that  the  Moon-god  of  Ur  was  even 

THE    GODS    OF    BABYLONIA.  215 

now  in  favour  in  the  court  of  Accad.  In  fact,  it  must 
have  been  among  the  priestly  literati  of  Sargon  that  the 
union  of  Accadian  and  Semitic  religious  belief  took  defi 
nite  shape.  It  marked  the  union  of  the  Accadian  and 
Semitic  elements  in  the  population  under  Semitic  rule. 
It  is  possible  that  some  of  the  mythological  tablets  in 
which  an  attempt  is  made  to  harmonise  the  deities  of  the 
various  local  cults  and  to  bring  them  into  genealogical 
order,  may  go  back  to  this  early  date.  It  is  more  pro 
bable,  however,  that  they  all  belong  to  that  later  period 
when  northern  and  southern  Babylonia  had  long  formed 
an  united  monarchy. 

Unchecked,  the  tendency  of  Semitic  religious  thought 
would  have  been  to  resolve  the  gods  of  the  popular  faith 
into  one  supreme  Baal,  by  the  side  of  whom  was  throned 
his  colourless  double  or  wife.  This  tendency  actually 
found  expression  in  certain  cases.  But  the  cities  of 
Babylonia  had  too  venerable  a  history  to  allow  their  local 
deities  to  be  thus  confounded  and  lost,  and  the  non- 
Semitic  element  in  the  population,  though  less  and  less 
represented  in  official  documents,  placed  a  check  upon  it. 
It  was  the  genealogical  theory,  resuscitated  in  after  times 
in  the  Gnostic  doctrine  of  emanations,  which  obtained 
most  favour.  The  gods  became  a  family,  and  their 
temples  palaces  in  which  attendant  spirits  ministered  to 
their  wants. 

At  the  head  of  the  pantheon  stood  the  trinity  of  Anu, 
Bel  of  Nipur  and  Ea.  The  order  in  which  they  were 
ranked  indicates  the  relative  periods  at  which  the  three 
gods  and  the  cities  which  originally  worshipped  them 
became  the  property  of  the  Semitic  race.  The  rise  of 
Babylon,  however,  brought  with  it  the  displacement  of 

216  LECTURE   III, 

the  older  Bel  of  Mpur.  He  was  forced  to  yield  to  his 
younger  rival  Eel  Merodach,  causing  endless  confusion 
to  the  Babylonian  mythologists. 

Around  the  three  chief  gods  were  grouped  the  multi 
tudinous  deities  which  Accadian  superstition  or  Semitic 
piety  had  invented  and  dreamed  of.  Assur-natsir-pal 
declares  that  there  were  "  65,000  great  gods  of  heaven 
and  earth;"  and  though  we  may  doubt  whether  the 
Assyrian  king  was  not  indulging  in  a  little  royal  exag 
geration,  it  is  certain  that  the  task  of  enumerating  them 
all  would  have  exhausted  the  most  indefatigable  of 
priestly  scribes.  Besides  the  numberless  minor  deities  of 
the  towns  and  villages,  there  were  the  divine  titles  out  of 
which  new  gods  had  been  evolved ;  divinities  which  owed 
their  existence  to  the  linguistic  or  literary  errors  of  the 
Semites ;  and,  finally,  foreign  gods  like  Kittum  and  Suma- 
liya  of  theKossseans,  orLagamar  of  Susa.  As  if  this  goodly 
host  were  not  enough,  phrases  from  the  ritual  of  the 
temples  were  elevated  to  the  rank  of  gods.  E-Sagil,  for 
instance,  the  temple  of  Merodach  at  Babylon,  was  deified 
under  the  name  of  "  "What  does  my  lord  eat  ?"  and  the 
spirit  of  E-Sagil  was  known  as  "What  does  my  lord 
drink?"1  while  the  divine  porters  of  the  temple  were 
termed  respectively  "  the  binder  of  the  waters  of  the  god 
of  the  sea,"  and  "the  giver  of  water  for  (purifying)  the 
hand."2  When  we  remember  how  the  background  of 
this  vast  pantheon  was  filled  with  the  obscure  deities  and 
spirits  of  the  ancient  Accadian  cult,  whose  names  survived 
in  magical  charms  and  exorcisms,  while  the  air  above  was 
occupied  by  the  "  300  spirits  of  heaven,"  and  the  earth 

i  W,  A.  I.  ii.  56,  16,  17.  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  18,  19. 


below  by  "the  600  spirits  of  earth,"  we  begin  to  realise 
the  force  of  the  expression  which  made  the  supreme  gods 
rulers  of  the  "  legions  "  of  earth  and  sky.  Bil  Jcissat,  "  the 
lord  of  hosts,"  was  a  phrase  full  of  significance  to  the 
believing  Babylonian. 

It  would  be  useless  to  waste  our  time  over  deities  who 
never  obtained  a  prominent  place  in  the  official  hierarchy 
of  the  gods,  and  of  whom  we  know  little  beyond  the  names. 
No  wand  again,  when  the  Assyrian  kings  made  a  triumphal 
march  through  Babylonia,  they  sacrificed  to  the  gods  of 
the  cities  through  which  they  passed,  and  we  hear  of 
Latarak  the  son  of  Anu,  of  Subulu,  or  of  Utsur-amat-sa ; 
but  they  probably  knew  as  little  about  them  as  we  do. 
It  is  only  from  local  documents  like  contracts  and  boun 
dary-stones  that  we  can  expect  to  learn  anything  about 
such  deities  as  Supu  of  Der,  and  Tug  of  BJS  with  the 
dragon's  face,  and  what  we  learn  will  seldom  throw 
much  light  on  Babylonian  religion  as  a  whole.  When 
Nebuchadnezzar  gathered  the  gods  of  Babylonia  into  his 
capital  in  token  that  the  god  of  Babylon  was  henceforth 
lord  of  all  the  Chaldsean  gods,  with  two  exceptions  it  is 
only  to  deities  like  Sin  and  Samas,  Eimmon  and  Gula, 
that  he  erected  shrines.  "The  lady  of  the  house  of 
heaven"  and  "  the  divine  son  of  the  house"  are  the  only 
divinities  whom  he  mentions  that  bear  unaccustomed 
names,  and  they  are  doubtless  merely  titles  of  Beltis  and 
Adar  or  Nergal. 

As  long,  however,  as  these  multitudinous  deities  were 
believed  to  exist,  so  long  was  it  also  believed  that  they 
could  injure  or  assist.  Hence  come  such  expressions  as 
those  which  meet  us  in  the  Penitential  Psalms,  "  To  the 
god  that  is  known  and  that  is  unknown,  to  the  goddess 

218  LECTURE   III. 

that  is  known  and  that  is  unknown,  do  I  lift  my  prayer." 
Hence,  too,  the  care  with  which  the  supreme  Baal  was 
invoked  as  "  lord  of  the  hosts  of  heaven  and  earth,"  since 
homage  paid  to  the  master  was  paid  to  the  subjects  as 
well.  Hence,  finally,  the  fact  that  the  temples  of  the 
higher  gods,  like  the  Capitol  at  Eome,  became  gathering- 
places  for  the  inferior  divinities,  and  counterparts  on  the 
earth  of  "the  assembly  of  the  gods"  in  heaven.  That 
curious  product  of  Mandaite  imagination,  the  "  Book 
of  Nabathean  Agriculture,"  which  was  translated  into 
Arabic  by  Ibn  Wahshiya  in  the  10th  century,  sets  before 
us  a  curious  picture  of  the  temple  of  Tammuz  in  Babylon. 
"The  images  (of  the  gods),"  it  tells  us,  "congregated 
from  all  parts  of  the  world  to  the  temple  of  el-Askul 
(E-Sagil)  in  Babylon,  and  betook  themselves  to  the  temple 
(JiaiJml)  of  the  Sun,  to  the  great  golden  image  that  is 
suspended  between  heaven  and  earth  in  particular.  The 
image  of  the  sun  stood,  they  say,  in  the  midst  of  the 
temple,  surrounded  by  all  the  images  of  the  world.  Next 
to  it  stood  the  images  of  the  sun  in  all  countries ;  then 
those  of  the  moon ;  next  those  of  Mars ;  after  them  the 
images  of  Mercury ;  then  those  of  Jupiter ;  next  of 
Yenus ;  and  last  of  all,  of  Saturn.  Thereupon  the  image 
of  the  sun  began  to  bewail  Tammuz  and  the  idols  to 
weep ;  and  the  image  of  the  sun  uttered  a  lament  over 
Tammuz  and  narrated  his  history,  whilst  the  idols  all 
wept  from  the  setting  of  the  sun  till  its  rising  at  the  end 
of  that  night.  Then  the  idols  flew  away,  returning  to 
their  own  countries." 

The  details  are  probably  borrowed  from  the  great  temple 
of  pre-Mohammedan  Mecca,  but  they  correspond  very 
faithfully  with  what  we  now  know  the  interior  of  one  of 


the  chief  temples  of  Babylonia  and  Assyria  to  have  been 
like.  Fragments  have  been  preserved  to  us  of  a  tablet 
which  enumerated  the  names  of  the  minor  deities  whose 
images  stood  in  the  principal  temples  of  Assyria,  attend 
ing  like  servants  upon  the  supreme  god.  Among  them 
are  the  names  of  foreign  divinities,  to  whom  the  catholic 
spirit  of  Babylonian  religion  granted  a  place  in  the 
national  pantheon  when  once  the  conquest  of  the  towns 
and  countries  over  which  they  presided  had  proved  their 
submission  to  the  Babylonian  and  Assyrian  gods ;  even 
Khaldis,  the  god  of  Ararat,  figures  among  those  who 
dwelt  in  one  of  the  chief  temples  of  Assyria,1  and  whose 
names  were  invoked  by  the  visitor  to  the  shrine.  The 
spectacle  of  such  a  temple,  with  the  statue  or  symbol  of 
the  supreme  Baal  rising  majestically  in  the  innermost 
cell,  and  delivering  his  oracles  from  within  the  hidden 
chamber  of  that  holy  of  holies,  while  the  shrines  of  his 
wife  and  offspring  were  grouped  around  him,  and  the 
statues  of  ministering  deities  stood  slave-like  in  front, 
was  a  fitting  image  of  Babylonian  religion.  "  The  gods 
many  and  lords  many"  of  an  older  creed  still  survived, 
but  they  had  become  the  jealously- defined  officials  of  an 
autocratic  court.  The  democratic  polytheism  of  an  earlier 
day  had  become  imperial.  Bel  was  the  counterpart  of 
his  vicegerent  the  Babylonian  king,  with  this  difference, 
that  whereas  Babylonia  had  been  fused  into  an  united 
monarchy,  the  hierarchy  of  the  gods  still  acknowledged 
more  than  one  head.  How  long  Anu  and  Ea,  or  Samas 
and  Sin,  would  have  continued  to  share  with  Merodach 
the  highest  honours  of  the  official  cult,  we  cannot  say ; 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  66,  Rev.  7. 

220  LECTURE   III. 

the  process  of  degradation  had  already  begun  when 
Babylonia  ceased  to  be  an  independent  kingdom  and 
Babylon  the  capital  of  an  empire.  Merodach  remained 
a  supreme  Baal— the  cylinder  inscription  of  Cyrus  proves 
so  much — but  he  never  became  the  one  supreme  god. 



AMONG  the  mythological  poems  bequeathed  to  us  by 
ancient  Babylonia  is  one  which,  though  doubtless  based 
on  Accadian  materials,  has  survived  to  us  only  in  a  Semi 
tic  form.  It  recounts  the  descent  of  the  goddess  Istar 
into  Hades  in  search  of  the  healing  waters  which  should 
restore  to  life  her  bridegroom  Tammuz,  the  young  and 
beautiful  Sun-god,  slain  by  the  cruel  hand  of  night  and 
winter.  The  poem  is  as  follows : 

1.  "To  the  land  whence  none  return,  the  region  of  (darkness), 

2.  Istar,  the  daughter  of  Sin,  (inclined)  her  ear, 

3.  yea,  Istar  herself,  the  daughter  of  Sin,  inclined  (her)  ear 

4.  to  the  house  of  darkness,  the  seat  of  the  god  Irkalla, 

5.  to  the  house  from  whose  entrance  there  is  no  exit, 

6.  to  the  road  from  whose  passage  there  is  no  return, 

7.  to  the  house  from  whose  visitors  the  light  is  excluded,' 

8.  the  place  where  dust  is  their  bread  (and)  their  food  is  mud. 

9.  The  light  they  behold  not,  in  darkness  they  dwell, 

10.  they  are  clad  like  birds  in  a  garment  of  feathers. 

11.  Over  the  door  and  the  bolt  the  dust  is  scattered. 

12.  Istar,  on  arriving  at  the  gate  of  Hades, 

13.  to  the  keeper1  of  the  gate  addresses  the  word : 

14.  '  Opener  (keeper)  of  the  waters,  open  thy  gate  I 

15.  Open  thy  gate  that  I  may  enter  ! 

1  Literally  "opener"  (pitu  or  muselii). 

222  LECTURE   IV. 

16.  If  thou  openest  not  the  gate  that  I  may  enter, 

17.  I  will  smite  the  door,  the  bolt  I  will  shatter, 

18.  I  will  smite  the  threshold  and  pass  through  the  portals. 

19.  I  will  raise  up  the  dead  to  devour  the  living, 

20.  above  the  living  the  dead  shall  exceed  in  number.' 

21.  The  keeper  opened  his  mouth  and  speaks; 

22.  he  says  to  the  princess  Istar  : 

23.  *  Stay,  0  lady,  thou  must  not  break  it  down ! 

24.  Let  me  go  and  declare  thy  name  to  Nin-ki-gal,  the  queen  of 


25.  The  keeper  descended  and  declares  (her  name  to  ISTin-ki-gal 

[Allat]) : 

26.  '  0  goddess,  the  water  thy  sister  Istar  (is  come  to  seek) ; 

27.  trying  (batqirtu)  the  mighty  bars  (she  has  threatened  to  break 

open  the  doors)  (?).' 

28.  When  Allat  (heard)  this  (she  opened  her  mouth  and  says  :) 

29.  'Like  a  cut-off  herb  has  (Istar)  descended  (into  Hades); 

30.  like  the  lip  of  a  drooping  reed1  she  has  prayed  for  (the  waters 

of  life). 

31.  What  matters  to  me  her  wish  1  what  (matters  to  me)  her  anger?2 

32.  (When  she  says  :)  this  water  with  (my  bridegroom) 

33.  like  food  would  I  eat,  like  beer  would  I  drink  : 

34.  let  me  weep  for  the  heroes  who  have  left  (their)  wives ; 

35.  let  me  weep  for  the  handmaids  whom  from  the  bosom  of  their 

husbands  (thou  hast  taken) ; 

36.  for  the  little  child  let  me  weep  whom  thou  hast  taken  ere  his 

days  are  come. 

37.  Go,  keeper  (nevertheless),  open  for  her  (thy)  gate  ; 

38.  Strip3  her  also  according  to  the  ancient  rules.' 

39.  The  keeper  went,  he  opened  for  her  (his)  gate : 

40.  <  Enter,  0  lady,  let  Cutha  be  glad  (at  thee); 

41.  let  the  palace  of  Hades  rejoice  before  thee.' 

1  See  W.  A.  I.  ii.  22,  8.     Instead  of  sapat,  ulip,"  Jeremias  (Die 
Hollenfalirt  der  Istar,  1886)  reads  sctbat,  "cutting  off;"  but  he  has 
misunderstood  the  reference  of  lines  29,  30. 

2  Literally,  "  What  has  her  heart  brought  me  ?  what  has  her  liver 
(brought  me)?" 

3  Uppidh,  see  W.  A.  I.  ii.  29,  38.     This  is  preferable  to  my  old 
reading  uppis,  "bewitch." 


42.  The  first  gate  he  made  her  enter,  and  shut1  (it);  he  threw 

down  the  mighty  crown  of  her  head. 

43.  '  Why,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  down  the  mighty  crown  of 

my  head?' 

44.  '  Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

45.  The  second  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  he  shut;  he  threw 

away  the  earrings  of  her  ears. 

46.  '  Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  earrings  of 

my  ears'?' 

47.  '  Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

48.  The  third  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  he  closed;  he  threw 

away  the  precious  stones  of  her  neck(lace). 

49.  *  Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  precious 

stones  of  my  neck(lace)  ? ' 

50.  '  Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

51.  The  fourth  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  closed ;  he  threw  away 

the  ornaments  of  her  breast. 

52.  *  Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  ornaments  of 

my  breast  1 ' 

53.  'Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

54.  The  fifth  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  closed ;  he  threw  away 

the  gemmed  girdle  of  her  waist. 

55.  *  Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  gemmed 

girdle  of  my  waist?' 

56.  '  Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat/ 

57.  The  sixth  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  closed ;  he  threw  away 

the  bracelets  of  her  hands  and  her  feet. 

58.  '  Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  bracelets  of 

my  hands  and  my  feet  V 

59.  'Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

60.  The  seventh  gate  he  made  her  enter  and  closed;   he  threw 

away  the  cincture  of  her  body. 

61.  'Wherefore,  0  keeper,  hast  thou  thrown  away  the  cincture  of 

my  body?' 

62.  *  Enter,  0  lady,  (for)  thus  are  the  orders  of  Allat.' 

63.  After  that  Istar  had  descended  into  the  land  of  Hades, 

64.  Allat  beheld  her  and  was  haughty  before  her. 

1  Not ( '  unclothe,"  as  Jeremias.     Matsu  means  "  to  shut,"  "  discon 

224  LECTURE   IV. 

65.  Istar  took  not  counsel,  she  besought  her  with  oaths.1 

66.  Allat  opened  her  mouth  and  says, 

67.  to  Namtar  (the  plague-demon),  her  messenger,  the  word  she 

utters  : 

68.  '  Go,  Namtar,  (take  Istar  from)  me,  and 

69.  lead  her  out ;  sixty  times  (strike)  Istar  (with  disease) : 

69.  the  disease  of  the  eyes  (into)  her  (eyes) ; 

70.  the  disease  of  the  side  (into)  her  (side) ; 

71.  the  disease  of  the  feet  into  her  (feet) ; 

72.  the  disease  of  the  heart  into  (her  heart) ; 

73.  the  disease  of  the  head  strike  (into  her  head) ; 

74.  into  her,  even  the  whole  of  her,  and  into  (each  limb  strike  dis 


75.  After  that  the  lady  Istar  (into  Hades  had  descended), 

76.  with  the  cow  the  bull  would  not  unite  (the  ass  would  not 

approach  the  female), 

77.  the  handmaid  (in  the  street  would  not  approach  the  freeman), 

78.  the  freeman  ceased  (to  give  his  order),2 

79.  (the  handmaid  ceased  to  give  her  gift  ?). 

80.  Pap-sukal,  the  messenger  of  the  mighty  gods,  bowed  his  face 

before  (the  Sun-god) : 

81.  '  There  is  woe  below,3  (for  all  things)  are  full  of  destruction 


82.  The  Sun-god  went ;  in  the  presence  of  Sin  his  father  he  (stood), 

83.  in  the  presence  of  Ea  the  king  (his)  tears  flowed  down : 

84.  '  Istar  descended  to  the  earth  and  has  not  re-ascended. 

85.  From  the  time  that  Istar  has  descended  to  the  land  of  Hades, 

86.  with  the  cow  the  bull  will  not  unite,  the  ass  will  not  approach 

the  female, 

87.  the  handmaid  in  the  street  will  not  approach  the  freeman, 

88.  the  freeman  has  ceased  to  give  his  order, 

89.  the  handmaid  has  ceased  to  give  her  (gift  ?).' 

90.  Ea  in  the  wisdom  of  his  heart  formed  (a  man)  ;* 

1  Jeremias,   "  she  threw  herself  on  her."      This,   however,   could 
hardly  be  the  sense  of  the  shaphel  of  bu,  "  to  come." 

2  Perhaps  better  with  Jeremias  :  "  slept  while  giving." 

3  Saplis  ;  if  we  read  labis,  we  must  translate,  with  Jeremias,  "  clothed 
in  a  dress  of  mourning."     But  in  this  case,  it  would  be  difficult  to 
account  for  the  omission  of  the  words  of  Pap-sukal. 

4  So  Jeremias. 


91.  he  created  Atsu-su-namir  ('  His  rising  is  seen'),  the  androgyne  ;l 

92.  '  Go,  Atsu-su-namir,  towards  the  gate  of  Hades  set  thy  face ; 

93.  let  the  seven  gates  of  Hades  be  opened  before  thee ; 

94.  let  Allat  see  thee  and  rejoice  at  thy  presence, 

95.  when  her  heart  is  at  rest  and  her  liver  is  appeased. 

96.  Conjure  her  also  by  the  names  of  the  great  gods. 

97.  Turn  thy  heads ;  to  the  resting-place2  of  the  stormy  wind  set 

thine  ear ; 

98.  the  home  of  the  pure  one,3  the  resting-place  of  the  stormy  wind, 

let  them  prepare  (?) ;  the  waters  in  the  midst  let  her  drink. 

99.  When  Allat  heard  this 

100.  she  struck  her  girdle,  she  bit  her  thumb  : 

101.  '  Thou  hast  asked  of  me  a  request  none  should  request ! 

102.  Go,  Atsu-su-namir,  let  me  injure  thee  with  a  great  injury  1* 

103.  May  the  garbage  of  the  sewers  of  the  city  be  thy  food  ! 

104.  May  the  vessels  of  the  daughters5  of  the  city  be  thy  drink  ! 

105.  May  the  darkness  of  the  dungeon  be  thy  habitation  1 

106.  May  the  threshold  be  thy  seat ! 

107.  May  drought  and  famine  strike  thine  offspring  !' 

108.  Allat  opened  her  mouth  and  says, 

109.  to  Namtar  her  messenger  the  word  she  addresses : 

110.  '  Go,  Namtar,  strike  open  the  firmly-built  palace, 

111.  shatter  the  thresholds  (which)  bear  up  the  stones  of  light; 

112.  bid  the  spirits  of  earth  (Anunaki)  come  forth  and  seat  them  on 

a  throne  of  gold ; 

1  Assinnu  explained  as  "the  female  man"  or  "creature  in  W.  A.  I. 
ii.  32,  22.     Ziinmern  is  probably  right  in  connecting  the  word  with 
itiinu,  "a  festival,"  since  the  tablet  in  which  it  appears  seems  to  enu 
merate  various  classes  of  priests  ;  and  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  27,  58,  "  the  man" 
or  "creature  of  Istar"  is  called  Icalu,  i.e.  one  of  the  Galli.     Atsu- 
su-namir  may  be  also  read  Atsu-sunamir,  "Rising,  cause  to  shine" 
(Shaphael  imperative).    Dr.  Oppert  reads  Uddusu-namir,  "  renewal  of 
light,"  but  this  would  require  the  form  Uddus-namari  (or  nameri).    In 
an  unnumbered  text  given  above  (p.  81,  note  2),  the  aMinnu  appears 
as  the  eunuch-priest  of  Bel  armed  with  a  flute. 

2  'Sukhal,  from  faltkalu,  for  which  see  W.  A.  I.  v.  40,  11,  and  K 161. 
i.  26.     According  to  George  Smith,  fakhalu  is  a  synonym,  of  sadakhu, 
"to  reach." 

3  Jeremias,  "(Say,)  No,  my  lady."  *  See  W.  A.  I.  ii.  10,  3. 
6  See,  however,  W.  A,  I.  ii,  22,  20. 


226  LECTURE    IV. 

113.  over  Istar  pour  the  waters  of  life  and  bring  her  before  me.' 

114.  Namtar  went  (and)  smote  the  firmly-built  palace, 

115.  he  shattered  the  thresholds  (which)  bear  up  the  stones  of  light, 

116.  he  bade  the  spirits  of  earth  come  forth,  on  a  throne  of  gold  did 

he  seat  (them), 

117.  over  Istar  he  poured  the  waters  of  life  and  brought  her  along. 

118.  The  first  gate  he  passed  her  out  of  and  restored  to  her  the 

cincture  of  her  body ; 

119.  The  second  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the 

bracelets  of  her  hands  and  her  feet. 

120.  The  third  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the 

gemmed  girdle  of  her  waist. 

121.  The  fourth  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the 

ornaments  of  her  breasts. 

122.  The  fifth  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the  jewels 

of  her  necklace. 

123.  The  sixth  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the  earrings 

of  her  ears. 

124.  The  seventh  gate  he  made  her  pass,  and  restored  to  her  the 

mighty  crown  of  her  head. 

125.  <  If  she  (i.e.  Allat)  has  not  given  thee  that  for  which  the  ransom 

is  paid  her,  turn  back  to  her  again 

126.  for  Tammuz  the  bridegroom  of  (thy)  youth. 

127.  Pour  over  him  the  pure  waters,  (anoint  him)  with  precious  oil. 

128.  Clothe  him  with  a  purple  robe;  a  ringf?)1  of  crystal  let  him 

strike  upon  (the  hand). 

129.  Let  Samkhat  (the  goddess  of  joy)  enter2  the  liver  .  . . .' 

130.  (Before  this)  the  goddess  Tillili  had  taken  her  jewels, 

131.  the  eye-stones  also  (which)  were  unbroken; 

132.  the  goddess   Tillili  had   heard  of  the  death3  of  her  brother 

(Tammuz) ;  she  broke  the  jewels4  (which  she  had  taken), 

1  Gibu  is  not  to  be  read  ideographically,  as  is  supposed  by  Jeremias 
(who  has  misunderstood  lines  135 — 137);  comp.  gibu  in  Strassmaier, 
p.  227,  and  gabu  in  K  4223,  col.  ii.  (ana  kliarran  sarri  halak-su  gaM 
la  illik).  See,  however,  the  text  I  have  quoted  above,  p.  81,  note  2. 

8  Linaha ;  the  word  is  explained  by  passages  in  the  legends  of  the 
shepherd  ENNUN-KA-TI  (K  2546,  Obv.  11),  and  of  Atarpi  (col.  iii.  47,  57). 

3  Tkrim ;  in  "W.  A.  I.  v.  50,  62,  the  verb  ikrimu  is  used  of  the  vio 
lent  "  carrying  below "  of  a  hero  by  "  the  handmaid  of  a  lilu "  or 
"demon."     Jeremias  reads  ihkil,  "cry  of  woe." 

4  More  literally,  "  jewelled  circlet"  (sutartum);  see  W.A.I,  v.  6,  45. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  227 

133.  even  the  eye-stones  which  were  full  of  the  face  (of  light?), 

134.  (crying)  '0  my  brother,  the  only  one,  do  not  destroy  me/ 

135.  In  the  day  that  Tammuz  bound  on  me  a  ring  (?)  of  crystal  and 

a  bracelet  of  turquoise,  at  that  time  he  bound  (them)  on  me, 

136.  at  that  time  he  bound  (them)  on  me.     Let  the  wailing  men 

and  wailing  women 

137.  bind  (them)  on  the  funeral  pyre,  and  smell  the  sweet  savour.' 
COLOPHON.     The  property  of  Assur-bani-pal,  king  of  multitudes, 

king  of  Assyria." 

The  poem  throws  light  upon  certain  passages  both  in 
the  Old  Testament  and  in  classical  authors,  and  in  turn 
receives  light  from  them.  On  the  one  hand,  we  now 
know  who  was  that  Tammuz  in  whose  honour  Ezekiel 
saw  the  women  of  Jerusalem  weeping  at  the  gate  of 
"the  Lord's  house."1  On  the  other  hand,  it  is  clear  that 
the  Tammuz  and  Istar  of  the  Babylonian  legend  are  the 
Adonis  and  Aphrodite  of  Greek  mythology.  Like  Tam 
muz,  Adonis,  the  beloved  one  of  Aphrodite,  is  slain  by 
the  boar's  tusk  of  winter,  but  eventually  ransomed  from 
Hades  by  the  prayers  of  the  goddess.  It  has  long  been 
recognised  that  Aphrodite,  the  Kyprian  goddess  of  love 
and  war,  came  to  Hellas  from  Phoenicia,  whether  or  not 
we  agree  with  Dr.  Hommel  in  seeing  in  her  name  a 
mere  etymological  perversion  of  the  Phoenician  Ashtoreth. 
Adonis  is  the  Phoenician  Adoni,  "my  lord,"  the  cry 
with  which  the  worshippers  of  the  stricken  Sun-god 
mourned  his  untimely  descent  into  the  lower  world. 

The  cry  was  familiar  throughout  the  land  of  Palestine. 
In  the  valley  of  Megiddo,  by  the  plain  of  Jezreel,  each 
year  witnessed  "the  mourning  for  Hadad-Bimmon" 
(Zech.  xii.  11),  while  hard  by  Amos  heard  the  men  of 

1  Ezek.  viii.  14. 

228  LECTURE   IV. 

Israel  mourning  for  "the  only  son"  (Am.  viii.  10),  and 
the  prophet  of  Judah  gives  the  very  words  of  the  refrain: 
"Ah  me,  my  brother,  and  ah  me,  my  sister!     Ah  me, 
Adonis,  and  ah  me,  his  lady!"  (Jer.  xxii.  18).      The 
words  were  carried  across  the  western  sea  to  men  of  an 
alien  race  and  language.     "  Cry  ailinon,  ailinon  !  woe, 
woe!"    says  the  Greek  poet  of  Athens,1  and  already  in 
Homeric  days2  the  dirge  was   attributed   to  a   mythic 
Linos  whose  magic  fate  was  commemorated  in  its  open 
ing  words:    "0  Linos,  Linos!"     Linos,  however,  had 
no  existence  except  in  a  popular  etymology ;  the  Greek 
ailinos  is  in  reality  the  Phoenician  ai-lenu,  "  alas  for  us  !" 
with  which  the  lamentations  for  the  death  of  the  divine 
Adonis  were  wont  to  begin.    Like  the  refrain  quoted  by 
Jeremiah,  the  words  eventually  go  back  to  Babylonia, 
and  find  their  counterpart  in  the  closing  lines  of  the  old 
Babylonian  poem  I  have  translated  above.    When  Tillili 
commences  her  wail  over  the  dead  Tammuz,  she  cries, 
like  the  women  of  Judah  and  Phoenicia,  "  0  my  brother, 
the  only  one  !"    It  was,  above  all,  in  the  Phoenician  town 
of  Gebal  or  Byblos  that  the  death  of  Adonis  was  com 
memorated.     Here,  eight  miles  to  the  north  of  Beyrut, 
the  ancient  military  road  led  from  eastern  Asia  to  the 
shores  of  the  Mediterranean,  and  brought  from  early 
days  the  invading  armies  of  Babylonia  and  Assyria  to 
the  coasts  and  cities  of  Canaan.     Hard  by  was  the  river 
of  Adonis,   the  Nahr  Ibrahim  of  to-day,  which  rolled 
through  a  rocky  gorge  into  the  sea.     Each  year,  when 
the  rains  and  melting  snows  of  spring  stained  its  waters 
with  the  red  marl  of  the  mountains,  the  people  of  Gebai 

i  JSskhylos,  Agam.  121.  2  //.  xviii.  570. 


beheld  in  it  the  blood  of  the  slaughtered  Sun-god.  It  was 
then,  in  the  month  of  Tammuz  or  June,  that  the  funeral- 
festival  of  the  god  was  held.  For  seven  days  it  lasted. 
"  Gardens  of  Adonis,"  as  they  were  called,  were  planted, 
pots  filled  with  earth  and  cut  herbs,  which  soon  withered 
away  in  the  fierce  heat  of  the  summer  sun — fitting 
emblems  of  the  lost  Adonis  himself.  Meanwhile,  the 
streets  and  gates  of  the  temples  were  filled  with  throngs 
of  wailing  women.  They  tore  their  hair,  they  disfigured 
the  face,  they  cut  the  breast  with  sharp  knives,  in  token 
of  the  agony  of  their  grief.  Their  cry  of  lamentation 
went  up  to  Heaven  mingled  with  that  of  the  Galli,  the 
emasculated  priests  of  Ashtoreth,  who  shared  with  them 
their  festival  of  woe  over  her  murdered  bridegroom. 
Adonis,  the  young,  the  beautiful,  the  beloved  of  Ash 
toreth,  was  dead ;  the  bright  sun  of  the  springtide,  like 
the  verdure  of  nature  which  he  had  called  into  life,  was 
slain  and  withered  by  the  hot  blasts  of  the  summer. 

In  later  times,  after  the  revolt  of  Egypt  from  the 
Assyrian  king  and  the  rise  of  the  26th  Dynasty,  the  cult 
of  Adonis  at  Gebal  entered  upon  a  new  phase.  Egyptian 
beliefs  and  customs  made  their  way  into  Phoenicia  along 
with  Egyptian  political  influence,  and  the  story  of  Adonis 
was  identified  with  that  of  the  Egyptian  Osiris.  As  the 
Sun-god  Osiris  had  been  slain  and  had  risen  again  from 
the  dead,  so,  too,  had  the  Phoenician  Adonis  descended 
into  Hades  and  been  rescued  again  from  its  grasp.  How 
long,  indeed,  he  had  remained  in  the  world  below  was 
a  matter  of  doubt.  There  were  some  who  said  that  he 
shared  half  the  year  with  the  goddess  of  death,  and  the 
other  half  only  with  the  goddess  of  love;  there  were 
others  who  declared  that  his  year  was  divided  into  three — • 

230  LECTURE    IV. 

four  months  was  he  condemned  to  dwell  in  Hades,  four 
months  he  was  free  to  live  where  he  might  choose,  while 
the  other  four  were  passed  in  the  companionship  of  Ash- 
toreth,  and  that  it  was  to  Ashtoreth  that  he  devoted  his 
months  of  freedom.  But  all  agreed  that  the  Sun-god  of 
spring  was  not  compelled  to  live  for  ever  in  the  gloomy 
under-world;  a  time  came  when  he  and  nature  would 
alike  revive.  It  was  inevitable,  therefore,  that  in  the  daj^s 
of  Egyptianising  fashion,  Adonis  and  Osiris  should  be 
looked  upon  as  the  same  god,  and  that  the  festival  of 
Adonis  at  Gebal  should  be  assimilated  to  that  of  Osiris 
in  Egypt.  And  so  it  came  about  that  a  new  feature  was 
added  to  the  festival  of  Adonis ;  the  days  of  mourning 
were  succeeded  by  days  of  rejoicing ;  the  death  of  Adonis 
was  followed  by  the  announcement  of  his  resurrection. 
A  head  of  papyrus  came  from  Egypt  over  the  waves; 
while,  on  the  other  hand,  an  Alexandrian  legend  told 
how  the  mourning  Isis  had  found  again  at  Gebal  the 
chest  in  which  the  dismembered  limbs  of  Osiris  were  laid. 
It  is  clear  that  the  Babylonian  poet  who  sang  of  the 
descent  of  Istar  into  Hades  had  no  conception  of  a  festival 
of  joy  that  followed  immediately  upon  a  festival  of  mourn 
ing.  Nevertheless,  the  whole  burden  of  his  poem  is  the 
successful  journey  of  the  goddess  into  the  under- world 
for  the  sake  of  the  precious  waters  which  should  restore 
her  beloved  one  to  life.  Even  in  Babylonia,  therefore, 
there  must  have  been  a  season  when  the  name  of  Tammuz 
was  commemorated,  not  with  words  of  woe,  but  with  joy 
and  rejoicing.  But  it  could  have  been  only  when  the 
fierce  heats  of  the  summer  were  past ;  when  the  northern 
wind,  which  the  Accadians  called  "the  prospering  one," 
began  again  to  blow;  and  when  the  Sun-god  regained 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  231 

once  more  the  vigour  of  his  spring-tide  youth.  That 
there  had  once  been  a  festival  of  this  kind  is  indicated 
by  the  fact  that  the  lamentations  for  his  death  did  not 
take  place  in  all  parts  of  Syria  at  the  same  time.  "We 
learn  from  Ammianus  that  when  Julian  arrived  at  Antioch 
in  the  late  autumn,  he  found  the  festival  of  Adonis  being 
celebrated  "according  to  ancient  usage,"  after  the  in 
gathering  of  the  harvest  and  before  the  beginning  of  the 
new  year,  in  Tisri  or  October.  It  must  have  been  in 
the  autumn,  too,  that  the  feast  of  Hadad-Eimmon  was 
observed,  to  which  Zechariah  alludes ;  and  Ezekiel  saw 
the  women  weeping  for  Tammuz  in  "  the  sixth  month." 
Nay,  Macrobius l  even  tells  us  that  the  Syrian  worshippers 
of  Adonis  in  his  time  explained  the  boar's  tusk  which  had 
slain  the  god  as  the  cold  and  darkness  of  winter,  his 
return  to  the  upper  world  being  his  "  victory  over  the 
first  six  zodiacal  signs,  along  with  the  lengthening  day 

We  can  draw  but  one  conclusion  from  all  this.  The 
resurrection  of  Tammuz  had  once  been  commemorated  as 
well  as  his  death,  and  the  festivals  had  been  identified, 
not  only  with  that  of  the  Egyptian  Osiris,  as  at  Gebal, 
but  also  with  those  of  other  Semitic  forms  of  the  Sun-god, 
of  Hadad  and  of  Eimmon.  When  Macrobius  states  that 
Adad  meant  "the  only  one"  in  Syrian,  he  implies  that 
Adad  or  Hadad — the  Sun-god  whose  festival  fell  after 
the  harvests  of  autumn — was  identical  with  Tammuz. 
In  Babylonia,  Tammuz  was  the  Sun-god  of  spring ;  his 
foe  was  the  summer  heat ;  his  death  was  mourned  in  the 
month  of  June.  If  there  was  another  feast  in  which 
grief  gave  place  to  joy  at  his  restoration  to  life,  it  was 

.    l  Saturn,  i.  21. 

232  LECTURE   TV. 

separate  from  that  which  celebrated  his  death,  and  must 
have  taken  place  at  a  different  time  of  the  year.  In  its 
transplantation  to  the  west,  however,  the  cult  of  Tammuz- 
Adonis  underwent  a  change.  He  was  identified  with 
other  forms  of  the  solar  deity ;  his  festivals  were  merged 
into  theirs;  and,  except  in  places  like  Gebal,  where  a 
natural  phenomenon  prevented  the  alteration,  the  anni 
versary  of  his  death  was  shifted  to  the  fall  of  the  year. 
He  ceased  to  be  the  Sun-god  of  spring,  and  became 
the  Sun-god  of  summer.  In  the  highlands  of  Syria  the 
summer  was  not  the  dangerous  foe  it  was  in  Babylonia ; 
it  was,  on  the  contrary,  a  kindly  friend,  whose  heats 
quickened  and  fostered  the  golden  grain.  Winter,  and 
not  summer,  was  the  enemy  who  had  slain  the  god. 

The  story  of  Tammuz  was  not  of  Semitic  invention, 
however  much  it  may  owe,  in  the  form  in  which  we  know 
it,  to  Semitic  imagination.  The  month  of  Tammuz  was 
called  in  the  Accadian  calendar  "  the  month  of  the  errand 
of  Istar,"  a  clear  proof  that  the  legend  of  the  Descent  of 
the  goddess  into  Hades  was  already  known.  Nor  is  the 
name  of  Tammuz  itself  of  Semitic  origin.  The  Semites 
did  not  agree  about  the  precise  form  which  it  should 
assume,  and  it  is  probable  that  the  form  (Tammuz)  which 
prevailed  in  the  west  was  due  to  a  "  popular  etymology." 
At  all  events,  the  Assyro-Babylonian  form  is  not  Tammuz, 
but  Duzu,  itself  contracted  from  Duwuzu,  and  a  fair 
representative  of  the  original  Accadian  Dumu-zi  or 
Duwu-zi,  "  the  son  of  life."  The  word  was  interpreted 
by  the  Semites  as  meaning  the  " offspring,"  "the  only 
son;"1  but  it  may  be  merely  a  shortened  form  of  the 
name  Dumu-zi-apzu,  "  the  son  of  the  spirit  of  the  deep." 

i  W.  A.  I.  ii.  36,  54. 


The  "spirit  of  the  deep"  is  of  course  Ea,  as  is  expressly 
stated  in  a  mythological  tablet,1  where  Dumu-zi-apzu  is 
given  as  the  name  of  one  of  his  six  sons.  How  early  the 
designation  must  be,  is  shown  by  the  fact  that  Ea  appears 
in  it  as  not  yet  a  god,  but  as  a  spirit  only.  We  are 
carried  back  to  the  first  dawn  of  Chaldeean  religious 
belief.  The  name  was  translated  by  the  Semites  "Timmuz 
(or  Dimmuz)  of  the  flood"  (W.A.I,  ii.  47,  29),  and  the 
solar  character  of  the  deity  was  indicated  by  writing  his 
name  with  ideographs  that  signified  "the  maker  of  fire" 
($fw-«s*).a  But  this  very  mode  of  writing  the  name, 
which  probably  grew  up  in  the  court  of  Sargon  of  Accad, 
proves  that  already  the  name  had  lost  its  last  element. 
The  "son  of  the  spirit  of  the  deep"  had  become  "the 
son  of  life,"  "the  only  son"  of  the  god  Ea.  It  is  thus 
that  a  mythological  tablet  gives  "  the  Eiver-god,"  who  is 
but  Ea  under  another  title,  a  single  son  Duzi,3  where 
the  name  has  assumed  its  contracted  Semitic  form,  and 
is  written  with  ideographs  that  mean  "  the  heart  of  life."4 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  33—38. 

2  Tim-izi,  or  Dim-izi,  is  a  good  example  of  what  Halevy  has  termed 
the  rebus.     As  in  several  other  cases,  notably  that  of  the  Fire-god 
Gibil,  the  two  elements  of  the  name  are  transposed  in  writing  (Izi-tim 
instead  of  Tim-izi).     The  tablet  in  which  the  name  is  explained  is  a 
commentary  on  an  old  astrological  text,  giving  explanations  of  the  rare 
•;vords  and  ideographs  contained  in  the  text.      The  text  may  have 
emanated  from  the  court  of  Sargon  at  Accad.     Izi  is  given  as  the  pro 
nunciation  of  the  Accadian  word  for  "fire"  in  82.  8 — 16.  1.  Rev.  15. 

3  W.A.I,  ii.  56,  31. 

^  4  The  spelling  may  have  originated  at  Accad.  At  all  events,  both 
A,  the  wife  of  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara,  and  Sala,  "  of  the  mountain  of 
gold,"  are  called  the  wives  of  Duzu  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57.  12.  34.  It  is 
possible  that  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54.  8,  9,  we  ought  to  read  Duzu  and  Dazu  ; 
if  so,  the  two  primordial  principles,  the  male  Duzu  and  the  female 

234  LECTURE   IV. 

We  have  just  seen  that  the  pronunciation  Timmuz 
was  once  known  to  the  Babylonian  scribes.  But  it  never 
found  its  way  into  the  language  and  literature  of  the 
country.  The  medial  labial  became  a  semi-vowel ;  and 
the  attempt  to  give  a  Semitic  colouring  to  the  word 
by  hardening  the  initial  consonant,  never  succeeded  in 
expelling  the  pronunciation  which  their  Accadian  neigh 
bours  had  made  familiar  to  the  Semites  of  Babylonia. 
The  case,  however,  was  different  in  other  portions  of  the 
Semitic  world.  Here  there  was  no  Accadian  population 
to  prevent  the  Semitised  form  from  holding  full  sway, 
and  it  was  accordingly  as  Tammuz  (or  Timmuz)  that  the 
name  passed  to  the  west.  It  is  probable  that  the  inter 
mediaries  were  those  Aramaean  tribes  who  stretched  across 
the  desert  from  the  borders  of  Babylonia  to  the  fields  of 
Syria,  and  were  known  in  after  days  under  the  compre 
hensive  title  of  Nabathseans.  At  any  rate,  the  worship  of 
Tammuz  could  not  have  been  introduced  into  Palestine 
by  the  Assyrian  conquests,  as  has  been  suggested ;  had 
it  been  so,  the  name  of  the  god  would  have  had  a 
different  form.  Nor  again,  had  such  been  the  case,  could 
we  have  explained  the  early  prevalence  of  the  cult  of 
Adonis  in  Phoenicia  and  Cyprus,1  and  the  traces  that  it 
left  even  upon  Homeric  Greece.  The  name  and  story  of 
Tammuz  must  have  come  to  Phoenicia  in  those  remote 
times  when  it  was  whispered  that  "  Kronos"  or  Ea  had 

Dazu,  will  be  here  identified  with  Arm  (and  Anat).  "What  makes  this 
the  more  likely  is  that  a  few  lines  further  Alala  and  Tillili  are  also 
identified  with  Aim  and  Anat. 

1  The  name  of  Tamassos,  the  city  in  whose  neighbourhood  were  the 
famous  copper-mines  of  the  island,  perhaps  preserved  a  recollection  of 
the  name  of  Tammuz.  It  is  called  Tametsi  by  Esar-haddon. 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAR.  235 

taken  Yeud,1  his  "only  begotten  son,"  and  arraying 
him  in  royal  robes  had  sacrificed  him  on  an  altar  in  a 
season  of  distress.2 

Greek  mythology  itself  knew  the  name  of  Tammuz  as 
well  as  that  of  Adonis.  Theias  or  Thoas3  was  not  only 
the  Lemnian  husband  of  Myrina  and  the  king  of  the 
Tauric  Khersonese  who  immolated  strangers  on  the  altars 
of  Artemis,  he  was  also  king  of  Assyria  and  father  of 
Adonis  and  his  sister  Myrrha  or  Smyrna.  In  the  Kyprian 
myth  the  name  of  Theias  is  transformed  into  Kinyras ; 
but,  like  Theias,  he  is  the  father  of  Adonis  by  his  daughter 
Myrrha.  Myrrha  is  the  invention  of  a  popular  etymo 
logy  ;4  the  true  form  of  the  name  was  Smyrna  or  Myrina, 
a  name  famous  in  the  legendary  annals  of  Asia  Minor. 
Myrina  or  Smyrna,  it  was  said,  was  an  Amazonian  queen, 
and  her  name  is  connected  with  the  four  cities  of  the 
western  coast — Smyrna,  Kyme,  Myrina  and  Ephesos — 
whose  foundation  was  ascribed  to  Amazonian  heroines. 
But  the  Amazons  were  really  the  warrior  priestesses  of 
the  great  Asiatic  goddess,  whom  the  Greeks  called  the 
Artemis  of  Ephesos,  and  who  was  in  origin  the  Istar  of 
Babylonia  modified  a  little  by  Hittite  influence.  It  was 
she  who,  in  the  Asianic  cult  of  Attys  or  Hadad,  took  the 
place  of  Istar  and  Aphrodite ;  for  just  as  Attys  himself 
was  Tammuz,  so  the  goddess  with  whom  he  was  asso 
ciated  was  Istar.  At  Hierapolis,  which  succeeded  to  the 
religious  fame  and  beliefs  of  the  ancient  Hittite  city  of 

1  Assyrian  edu,  "only  one."  2  Philo  Bybl.  p.  44. 

8  Thoas  is  practically  identical  with  the  Ssabian  Ta'uz.  For  Theias, 
the  Assyrian  king,  see  Apollod.  iii.  14,  4 ;  Tzetzes,  ad  Lykopli.  91. 

4  The  Aramaic  marthd,  "mistress,"  or  the  Assyrian  inartu,  "daughter," 
may  have  assisted  the  etymology;  compare  the  Biblical  name  Miriam. 

236  LECTURE   IV. 

Carchemish,  the  name  under  which  the  goddess  went 
seems  to  have  been  Semiramis,1  and  it  is  possible  that 
Semiramis  and  Smyrna  are  but  varying  forms  of  the  same 
word.  However  this  may  be,  in  the  Kyprian  Kinyras 
who  takes  the  place  of  Theias  we  have  a  play  upon  the 
Phoenician  kinnor,  or  "  cither,"  which  is  said  to  have  been 
used  in  the  worship  of  Adonis.  Eut  its  real  origin  seems 
to  be  indicated  by  the  name  of  Gingras  which  Adonis 
himself  bore.2  Here  it  is  difficult  not  to  recognize  the 
old  Accadian  equivalent  of  Istar,  Gingira  or  Gingiri, 
"the  creatress."3 

The  fact  that  Tammuz  was  the  son  of  Ea  points  unmis 
takably  to  the  source  both  of  his  name  and  of  his  worship. 
He  must  have  been  the  primitive  Sun-god  of  Eridu, 
standing  in  the  same  relation  to  Ea,  the  god  of  Eridu, 
that  Adar  stood  to  Mul-lil,  the  god  of  Mpur.  It  is  even 
possible  that  the  boar  whose  tusk  proved  fatal  to  Adonis 
may  originally  have  been  Adar  himself.  Adar,  as  we 
have  seen,  was  called  the  "lord  of  the  swine"  in  the 
Accadian  period,  and  the  Semitic  abhorrence  of  the  ani 
mal  may  have  used  it  to  symbolise  the  ancient  rivalry 
between  the  Sun-god  of  Mpur  and  the  Sun-god  of  Eridu.4 
Those  who  would  see  in  the  Cain  and  Abel  of  Scripture 
the  representatives  of  elemental  deities,  and  who  follow 
Dr.  Oppert  in  explaining  the  name  of  Abel  by  the  Baby 
lonian  ablu,  "  the  son,"  slightly  transformed  by  a  popular 
etymology,  may  be  inclined  to  make  them  the  Adar  and 
Tammuz  of  Chaldeean  faith. 

1  Lucian,  De  Dea  Syria,  33,  39. 

2  Athen.  iv.  174,  xiv.  618. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  29 ;  K 170.  Rev.  7  (m-gi-ri). 

4  See  above,  p.  153. 


As  mother  of  Tammuz,  Dav-kina,  the  wife  of  Ea,  had 
a  special  name.  She  is  called  Tsirdu,  or  'Sirdu1 — a  word 
in  which  I  believe  we  may  see  the  Assyrian  surdu,  "a 
falcon."  Now  it  will  be  remembered  that  'Sirrida,  also 
written  'Sirdam,  and  pronounced  'Sirgam,  'Sirrigal  or 
'Sirriga,  'Surga  and  Mrda,2  in  the  different  dialects  of 
pre-Semitic  Chaldsea,  was  a  title  of  A,  the  wife  of  the 
Sun-god  of  Sippara  or  Accad.  As  we  are  told  that  a 
temple  of  Tammuz  existed  at  Accad,  where  it  was  known 
by  the  double  name  of  "  the  tower  of  mighty  bulk"  and 
"the  shrine  of  observation,"3  it  would  seem  that  the 
worship  of  Tammuz  had  been  transported  from  Eridu 
to  the  capital  of  Sargon  at  the  time  when  the  culture  of 
southern  Babylonia  made  its  way  to  the  north,  and  the 
empire  of  Sargon  was  fusing  the  civilisation  and  religion 
of  the  country  into  a  single  whole.  It  was  then  that 
the  Sun-god  of  Eridu  and  the  Sun-god  of  Accad  would 
naturally  be  identified  together,  and  that  the  wife  of 
Samas  of  Accad  should  become  the  goddess  whom  mytho 
logy  represented  as  at  once  the  wife  and  the  mother  of 

But  the  primitive  home  of  Tammuz  had  been  in  that 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  59,  9.    As  she  seems  to  be  identified  with  Istar  in  the 
same  passage,  we  may  conclude  that  the  compiler  of  the  mythological 
list  regarded  her  as  equally  the  mother  and  the  wife  of  Tammuz. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57.  11,  24,  23,  21,  22,  26.     In  line  26  the  name  of  A 
is  also  written  phonetically  by  means  of  the  ideograph  for  father  (a). 
In  lines  30,  31,  SIR-UT-KAN  and  SIR-UT-AM  must  each  be  read  'Sirdam 
(or  'Sirudam).     See  above,  p.  178. 

3  W.  A.  I.  ii.  50.  10, 11.    It  would  appear  from  this  that  the  pardkn, 
or  "shrine,"  was,  like  that  of  Bel-Merodach  at  Babylon,  in  the  highest 
chamber  of  the  ziggurat,  or  "  tower,"  from  whence  observations  of  the 
sky  could  be  made. 

238  LECTURE   IV. 

"  garden"  of  Edin,  or  Eden,  which  Babylonian  tradition 
placed  in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  Eridu.1  The  frag 
ment  of  an  old  bilingual  hymn  has  been  preserved, 
which  begins  in  the  following  way : 

1.  "(In)  Eridu  a  stalk2  grew  over-shadowing;  in  a  holy  place 

did  it  become  green ; 

2.  its  root  ([sur]sum)  was  of  white  crystal  which  stretched  towards 

the  deep ; 

3.  (before)  Ea  was  its  course  in  Eridu,  teeming  with  fertility  ;8 

4.  its  seat  was  the  (central)  place4  of  the  earth ; 

5.  its  foliage  (1)  was  the  couch  of  Zikum  (the  primaeval)  mother. 

6.  Into  the  heart  of  its  holy  house  which  spread  its  shade  like  a 

forest  hath  no  man  entered. 

7.  (There  is  the  home)  of  the  mighty  mother  who  passes  across 

the  sky. 

8.  (In)  the  midst  of  it  was  Tammuz. 

10.  (There  is  the  shrine  ?)  of  the  two  (gods)." 

The  description  reminds  us  of  the  famous  Ygg-drasil 

1  Hence  his  mother  (and  wife)  is  called  "  the  lady  of  Edin"  (W.  A.  I. 
ii.  59.  10,  11. 

2  See  K  165,  22  (U-QI  gesdin),  "  the  stalk  of  a  grape."    Qi  ( =  lamma) 
tur  is  the  Assyrian  epitdtu,  "a  small  stalk"  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  41.  52,  56). 
U-QI  is  also  explained  as  ritusitehu,  "a  growing  slip"  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  41,  8). 
We  are  reminded  of  the  old  story  of  Jack  and  the  Bean-stalk  as  well 
as  of  the  Polynesian  tree  which  enables  the  climber  to  ascend  into  the 
heavenly  land.     The  mother  of  Tammuz  was  called  "  the  (mistress)  of 
the  vine"  (W.A.I,  ii.  59,  11).     Hommel  (Die  Semitisclien  Volker, 
p.  406)  very  ingeniously  reads  the  "Qi-tree"  as  gis-kin,  in  Accadian 
mus-kin,  from  which  he  derives  the  Assyrian  mmukkanu  or  mussikannut 
"  a  palm."     But  the  Semitic  rendering  is  not  ukkanu,  as  he  reads,  but 
kiskanu,  from  the  Accadian  giskin.     The  palm  was  the  sacred  tree  of 
Babylonia,  and  Adar  was  "  lord  of  the  date." 

3  The  original  seems  to  be  literally,  "while  (before  Ea)  it  went 
(  =  grew),  Eridu  was  richly  fertile." 

4  This  appears  to  be  the  meaning  of  the  line,  the  site  of  the  tree 
being  regarded  as,  like  Delphi  among  the  Greeks,  the  op^aAos  of  the 
earth.     The  Sumerian  equivalent  of  "  earth"  is  SI-MAD,  which  must  be 
read  mad  (W.  A.  I.  v.  38,  59)  with  the  determinative  prefix. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  239 

of  Norse  mythology,  the  world-tree  whose  roots  descend 
into  the  world  of  death,  while  its  branches  rise  into 
Asgard,  the  heaven  of  the  gods.  The  Babylonian  poet 
evidently  imagined  his  tree  also  to  be  a  world-tree,  whose 
roots  stretched  downwards  into  the  abysmal  deep,  where 
Ea  presided,  nourishing  the  earth  with  the  springs  and 
streams  that  forced  their  way  upwards  from  it  to  the 
surface  of  the  ground.  Its  seat  was  the  earth  itself, 
which  stood  midway  between  the  deep  below  and  Zikum, 
the  primordial  heavens,  above,  who  rested  as  it  were 
upon  the  overshadowing  branches  of  the  mighty  "  stem." 
Within  it,  it  would  seem,  was  the  holy  house  of  Dav- 
kina,  "the  great  mother,"  and  of  Tammuz  her  son,  a 
temple  too  sacred  and  far  hidden  in  the  recesses  of  the 
earth  for  mortal  man  to  enter.  It  is  perhaps  a  remi 
niscence  of  this  mystic  temple  that  we  find  in  the  curious 
work  on  "Nabathsean  Agriculture,"  composed  in  the 
fourth  or  fifth  century  by  a  Mandaite  of  Chaldaea,  where 
we  are  told  of  the  temple  of  the  sun  in  Babylon,  in 
which  the  images  of  the  gods  from  all  the  countries  of 
the  world  gathered  themselves  together  to  weep  for 
Tammuz.1  What  the  tree  or  "  stalk"  was  which  sprang 

1  Ibn  Wahshiyah,  the  translator  of  the  Nabathcean  Agriculture  of 
Kuthami  into  Arabic,  adds  that  he  had  "  lit  upon  another  Nabathtean 
book,  in  which  the  legend  of  Tammuz  was  narrated  in  full ;  how  he 
summoned  a  king  to  worship  the  seven  (planets)  and  the  twelve  (signs 
of  the  Zodiac),  and  how  the  king  put  him  to  death,  and  how  he  still 
lived  after  being  killed,  so  that  he  had  to  put  him  to  death  several 
times  in  a  cruel  manner,  Tammuz  coming  to  life  again  after  each  time, 
until  at  last  he  died ;  and  behold,  it  was  identical  with  the  legend  of 
St.  George  that  is  current  among  the  Christians."  Abu  Sayid  Wahb 
ibn  Ibrahim,  in  his  calendar  of  the  Ssabian  festivals,  says  under  the 
month  Tammuz:  "  On  the  15th  of  this  month  is  the  festival  of  the 
weeping  women,  which  is  identical  with  Ta'uz,  a  festival  held  in  honour 

240  LECTUBE   IV. 

up  like  the  bean-stalk  of  our  old  nursery  tale,  is  indicated 
in  the  magical  text  to  which  the  fragment  about  it  has 
been  appended.1  In  this,  Ea  describes  to  Merodach  the 
means  whereby  he  is  to  cure  a  man  who  is  possessed  of 
the  seven  evil  spirits.  He  is  first  to  go  to  "the  cedar- 
tree,  the  tree  that  shatters  the  power  of  the  incubus, 
upon  whose  core  the  name  of  Ea  is  recorded,"  and  then, 
with  the  help  of  "a  good  masal"  or  phylactery  which 
is  placed  on  the  sick  man's  head  as  he  lies  in  bed  at 
night,  to  invoke  the  aid  of  the  Fire-god  to  expel  the 
demons.  It  is  the  cedar,  therefore,  which  played  the 
same  part  in  Babylonian  magic  as  the  rowan  ash  of 
northern  Europe,  and  which  was  believed  to  be  under 
the  special  protection  of  Ea ;  and  the  parallel,  therefore, 
between  the  ash  Ygg-drasii  of  Norse  mythology  and  the 
world-tree  of  the  poet  of  Eridu  becomes  even  closer  than 

Long  after  the  days  when  the  hymns  and  magical 
texts  of  Eridu  were  composed,  the  mystic  virtues  of  the 
cedar  were  still  remembered.  A  tablet  which  describes 

of  the  god  Ta'uz.  The  women  weep  over  him,  (telling)  how  his  lord 
slew  him,  and  ground  his  bones  in  a  mill,  and  scattered  them  to  the 
winds ;  and  they  eat  nothing  that  has  been  ground  in  a  mill,  but  only 
soaked  wheat,  vetches,  dates,  raisins  and  the  like"  (Chwolson's  Die 
Ssabier,  ii.  p.  27). 

1  W.  A.I.  iv.  15.  Rev.  10—13.  It  is  pretty  clear  from  the  sculp 
tures  that  the  sacred  tree  of  the  Babylonians  was  the  cedar,  which  was 
subsequently  displaced  by  the  paliu ;  so  that  Hommel's  view,  which 
sees  a  palm  in  "  the  stalk"  of  Eridu,  may  still  be  maintained.  On  the 
other  hand,  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  59.  Rev.  10,  "the  divine  Lady  of  Eden"  is 
called  "the  goddess  of  the  tree  of  life"  in  the  Accadian  of  north  Baby 
lonia,  "the  goddess  of  the  vine"  in  the  Sumerian  of  south  Babylonia. 
It  is  clear  from  this  that  the  sacred  tree  was  also  conceived  of  as  the 
vine.  According  to  the  Old  Testament,  it  will  be  remembered,  there 
were  two  sacred  trees  in  the  garden  of  Eden. 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAR.  241 

the  initiation  of  an  augur,  and  states  how  he  must  be 
"  of  pure  lineage,  unblemished  in  hand  and  foot,"  speaks 
thus  of  the  vision  which  is  revealed  to  him  before  he  is 
"  initiated  and  instructed  in  the  presence  of  Samas  and 
Eimmon  in  the  use  of  the  book  and  stylus"  by  "the 
scribe,  the  instructed  one,  who  keeps  the  oracle  of  the 
great  gods : "  he  is  made  to  descend  into  an  artificial 
imitation  of  the  lower  world,  and  there  beholds  "the 
altars  amid  the  waters,  the  treasures  of  Anu,  Bel  and 
Ea,  the  tablets  of  the  gods,  the  delivering  of  the  oracle 
of  heaven  and  earth,  and  the  cedar-tree,  the  beloved  of 
the  great  gods,  which  their  hand  has  caused  to  grow."1 
It  was  possibly  the  fragrance  of  the  wood  when  lighted 
for  sacrificial  purposes  that  gave  the  tree  its  sacred 

But  the  cedar  was  something  more  than  a  world-tree. 
It  was  employed,  as  we  have  seen,  in  incantations  and 
magic  rites  which  were  intended  to  restore  strength  and 
life  to  the  human  frame.  It  was  thus  essentially  "a  tree 
of  life,"  and  the  prototype  and  original  of  those  conven 
tional  trees  of  life  with  which  the  walls  of  the  Assyrian 
palaces  were  adorned.  Those  who  have  visited  the 
Assyrian  collection  of  the  British  Museum  will  remember 
the  curious  form  which  it  generally  assumes,  as  well  as 
the  figures  of  the  two  cherubs  which  kneel  or  stand  before 
it  on  either  side.  At  times  they  are  purely  human ;  at 
other  times  they  have  the  head  of  a  hawk  and  hold  a 
cone — the  fruit  of  the  cedar — over  the  tree  by  whose 
side  they  stand. 

It  is  possible  that,  as  time  went  on,  another  tree  became 

1  K  2486,  Obv.  2—4.  A  fragment  of  a  duplicate  of  this  text  is 
published  iu  W.  A,  I.  ii,  58,  No.  3. 


242  LECTUBE    IV. 

confounded  with  the  original  tree  of  life.  The  palm  was 
from  the  earliest  period  characteristic  of  Babylonia ;  and 
while  its  fruit  seemed  to  be  the  stay  and  support  of  life, 
the  wine  made  from  it  made  "  glad  the  heart  of  man." 
Date -wine  was  largely  used,  not  only  in  Babylonian 
medicine,  but  in  the  religious  and  magical  ceremonies  of 
Babylonia  as  well.  It  is  not  at  all  improbable,  therefore, 
that  the  later  Babylonian  tree  of  life,  with  its  strange 
conventional  form,  was  an  amalgamation  of  two  actual 
trees,  the  cedar  and  the  palm.  It  is  even  possible  that 
while  one  of  them,  the  cedar,  was  primarily  the  sacred 
tree  of  Eridu,  the  other  was  originally  the  sacred  tree  of 
some  other  locality  of  Chaldsea. 

What  gives  some  colour  to  this  last  suggestion  is,  that 
in  later  Babylonian  belief  the  tree  of  life  and  the  tree  of 
knowledge  were  one  and  the  same.  The  text  which 
describes  the  initiation  of  a  soothsayer  associates  the 
cedar  with  "  the  treasures  of  Anu,  Bel  and  Ea,  the  tablets 
of  the  gods,  the  delivering  of  the  oracle  of  heaven  and 
earth."  It  was  upon  the  heart  or  core  of  the  cedar,  too, 
that  the  name  of  Ea,  the  god  of  wisdom,  was  inscribed. 
And  it  was  wisdom  rather  than  life,  the  knowledge  of 
the  secrets  of  heaven  and  the  magical  arts  that  benefit  or 
injure,  which  the  priesthood  of  Babylonia  and  the  gods 
they  worshipped  kept  jealously  guarded.  Only  the  ini 
tiated  were  allowed  to  taste  of  its  fruit.  In  this  respect, 
consequently,  there  was  a  marked  difference  between  the 
belief  of  the  Babylonians  and  the  account  which  we  find 
in  the  earlier  chapters  of  Genesis. 

We  can  trace  the  first  steps  by  which  the  name  and 
worship  of  Tammuz  made  their  way  from  Eridu  north 
wards.  In  the  same  part  of  Babylonia,  a  few  miles  only 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAE.  243 

to  the  north,  lie  the  mounds  of  Tel-loh,  which  have 
yielded  to  French  enterprize  the  earliest  monuments  of 
Chaldsean  art  we  as  yet  possess.  We  learn  from  them 
that  the  god  of  Tel-loh  was  Nin-girsu.  It  was  in  honour 
of  Nin-girsu  that  the  kings  who  reigned  at  'Sirgulla 
built  and  adorned  their  chief  temples ;  and  in  the  inscrip 
tion  of  Sukal-duggina  (?)  he  is  brought  into  association 
with  the  god  of  Nipur  and  entitled  "  the  valiant  warrior 
of  Mul-lil."  Mn-girsu  was,  in  fact,  "  the  lord  of  Girsu," 
the  native  name,  probably,  of  Tel-loh.  When  the  cult 
of  Mul-lil  found  its  way  to  Girsu,  the  god  of  Girsu 
necessarily  entered  into  relation  with  him ;  and  as  "  the 
lord  of  Girsu"  seems  to  have  been  a  Sun-god,  he  took  the 
place  of  Adar  and  became  "the  valiant  warrior  of  Mul- 
lil."  It  was  on  this  account  that  the  mythologists  sub 
sequently  identified  Adar  and  Nin-girsu.1  In  Accad, 
however,  an  earlier  identification  had  been  discovered,  in 
whose  justification,  it  is  probable,  more  might  have  been 
said.  After  the  establishment  of  the  worship  of  Tammuz 
in  Sippara,  and  the  introduction  of  the  divinities  of 
southern  Babylonia  into  the  north,  Tammuz  came  to  be 
addressed  there  as  Mul-Mersi  or  En-Mersi,  the  Accadian 
or  North- Chaldsean  form  of  Nin-girsu.  In  forgetfulness 
of  the  real  origin  of  the  name,  the  Semitic  scribes  of 
Sargon  and  his  successors  seem  to  have  interpreted  the 
title  as  if  it  meant  "  lord  of  the  horned  crown,"  the  head 
dress  worn  by  the  Babylonian  kings.  A  broken  text, 
which  was  probably  the  compilation  of  a  bilingual  Semite, 
breaks  out  into  these  words:2  "0  Merodach,  go,  my 

1  W.A.I,  ii.  57,  74. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  27,  6,  completed  from  S  1208,  which  reads  dkala  in 
stead  of  akali  in  line  17  (W.  A.  I.  57).     Mir-6i  is  found  in  an  unnum- 

244  LECTURE   IV. 

son,  take  the  hand  of  the  white  offspring  of  Mul-Mersi 
(Tammuz) ;  lull  the  plague  of  the  sick  man  to  rest ; 
change  his  heart;  assist  the  man;1  grant  the  spell  of 
Ea;  the  offspring  of  his  heart  whom  thou  hast  taken 
away  and  the  strong  food  of  the  man  restore  (to  him)." 
"The  white  offspring  of  Mul-Mersi"  is  perhaps  an 
equivalent  of  a  common  phrase  in  these  old  texts  :  "  the 
man  the  son  of  his  god."  It  represents  that  close 
relationship  which  was  supposed  to  exist  between  the 
Babylonian  and  the  god  he  worshipped,  and  which  the 
Egyptian  symbolised  by  the  assumption  of  an  identity 
between  himself  and  the  divine  being.  But  whereas  the 
pantheistic  Egyptian  believed  in  his  absorption  into  the 
divinity,  the  pious  Babylonian,  who  regarded  his  gods  as 
creators  and  generators,  called  himself  their  son. 

The  worship  of  the  Sun-god  of  Eridu  had  embodied 
other  elements  before  it  reached  northern  Babylonia, 
besides  those  which  resulted  in  the  identification  of 
Tammuz  and  Nin-Girsu.  It  was  probably  as  Mn-Girsu 
that  he  became  the  patron  and  lord  of  the  green  marsh- 
plants  which  flourished  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Tel-loh ; 
it  was  as  Mn-girsu  that  he  was  adored  as  the  son  of  Ea 
the  river-god,  rather  than  of  Ea  the  god  of  the  deep; 
and  it  was  from  the  story  of  his  untimely  death  that  he 
came  to  be  the  Nergal  of  southern  Chaldaea,  the  Sun-god 
of  winter  and  night  who  rules,  like  Ehadamanthos,  in  the 

bered  bilingual  fragment  belonging  to  the  series  l£(0bv.  6) :  bitsa  mirdL 
For  Mul-mersi,  see  W.  A.  I.  ii.  59,  8.  Girsu  seems  to  mean  the  "  bank" 
of  a  river.  At  all  events,  in  S  1366,  Obv.  3,  4,  the  Accadian  mc-ir-si 
gu  id  UD-KiP-NUN-Ki-LiL-raa  is  rendered  by  the  Semitic  ina  girde  set 
Puratti,  "on  the  bank  of  the  Euphrates." 

1  The  Semitic  is  literally,  "put  the  man  into  the  hand ;"  the  Acca 
dian,  "  take  the  hand  of  the  man." 


lower  world.  But  he  was  more  than  this.  The  Chal 
deans  were  a  people  of  agriculturists  and  herdsmen; 
their  monarchs  were  addressed  as  "  shepherds;"  and  just 
as  Abel  in  the  Old  Testament  is  "a  keeper  of  sheep," 
so,  too,  Tammuz  in  Babylonia  was  accounted  a  shepherd. 
This  is  how  an  old  Accadian  hymn  speaks  of  him  ( W.  A.  I. 
iv.  27,  No.  1) : 

"  O  Tammuz,  shepherd  and  lord,  bridegroom  of  Istar  the  lady  of 


lord  of  Hades,  lord  of  the  shepherds'  cot,1 

the  green  corn2  which  in  the  meadow3  has  not  drunk  the  water, 
its  progemy  in  the  desert  is  not  green  of  leaf ; 
the  acacia  (?)  tree  which  in  the  canal  is  planted  not,4 
the  acacia  (?)  tree  whose  foundation  is  taken  away  ; 
the  grain5  which  in  the  meadow  has  not  drunk  the  water." 

The  poem  is  written  in  the  artificial  dialect  which 
sprang  up  in  the  court  of  Sargon,  and  it  probably  ema 
nated  from  the  city  of  Accad.6  It  may  have  been  one 
of  the  dirges  chanted  in  commemoration  of  the  death  of 
Tammuz,  the  shepherd  who  was  cut  off  like  the  unwa- 
tered  corn,  or  the  tree  from  beneath  whose  roots  the 
soft  soil  of  the  canal  slips  away. 

The  story  of  Tammuz  of  Eridu  did  not  stand  alone. 
There  were  other  cities  of  Babylonia  which  knew  of  a 
hapless  Sun-god  cut  off  in  the  prime  of  his  life,  or  perish- 

1  Tul,  i.e.  "tel"  or  "mound."  2  Aram,  Una. 

3  Comp.  Jensen,  Z.  f.  K.  ii.  16. 

4  For  erisu,  "  to  be  planted,"  see  W.  A.  I.  v.  24,  12. 

5  W.  A.  I.  ii.  33,  73,  compared  with  v.  21,  7,  8. 

6  The  Accadian  is  Semitised  and  the  Semitic  is  Accadised.    Tims  in 
the  Accadian  we  have  timba  for  siba,  "  shepherd,"  the  Semitic  iul,  and 
gu  from  the  Semitic  qu  ;  in  the  Semitic,  musare,  a  derivative  from  the 
Accadian  sar,  "grass,"  radi,  borrowed  from  the  Accadian  rat  (more 
correctly  radii,  W.  A.  I.  ii.  38,  18),  and  gu  instead  of  qa. 

246  LECTURE    IV. 

ing  through  love  of  a  heartless  goddess.  But  in  these 
legends,  it  would  appear,  the  goddess  herself  was  the 
cause  of  the  hero's  death;  so  far  from  venturing  into 
the  glooms  of  Hades  for  the  sake  of  her  youthful  bride 
groom,  it  was  she  who  had  herself  lured  her  lover  to 
his  destruction.  This  was  the  light  in  which  Istar  was 
represented  at  Erech,  and  this  was  the  interpretation 
put  there  upon  the  name  of  the  Accadian  month  of  the 
Errand  of  Istar.  The  fate  of  the  suitors  of  Istar  is 
glanced  at  in  the  sixth  book  of  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar. 

1.  "  For  the  favour  of  Gisdhubar  the  princess  Istar  lifted  the  eyes  ; 

2.  '  (Look  up),  Gisdhubar,  and  be  thou  my  bridegroom  ! 

3.  I  am  thy  vine,1  thou  art  its  bond ; 

4.-  be  thou  my  husband  and  I  will  be  thy  wife. 

5.  I  will  give  thee  a  chariot  of  crystal  and  gold, 

6.  whose  pole  is  of  gold  and  its  horns  are  of  glass,2 

7.  that  thou  mayst  yoke  (thereto)  each  day  the  mighty  coursers. 

8.  Enter  our  house  in  the  gloom  of  the  cedar. 

9.  When  thou  enterest  our  house 

10.  let  (the  river)  Euphrates  kiss  thy  feet. 

11.  Let  kings,  lords  (and)  princes  (bow)  beneath  thee  ! 

12.  The  tribute  of  the  mountain  and  the  plain  let  them  bring  thee 

as  an  offering. 

13.  (In  the  folds  ?)  let  thy  flocks  bring  forth  twins ; 

14.  (in  the  stables)  let  the  mule  seek  (its)  burden; 

15.  let  thy  (horse)  in  the  chariot  be  strong  in  galloping ; 

16.  let  (thine  ox)  in  the  yoke  have  no  rival.' 

17.  (Gisdhubar)  opened  his  mouth  and  speaks, 

18.  (he  says  thus)  to  the  princess  Istar : 

19.  '(I  will  leave)  to  thyself  thy  possession, 

20.  (in  thy  realm  are)  corpses  and  corruption  (?), 
21 disease  and  famine. 

[The  next  seven  lines  are  too  mutilated  to  be  translated.] 

29.  The  wind  and  the  blast  hold  open  the  back-door  (of  thy  palace). 

30.  The  palace  is  the  destroyer  of  heroes. 

1  'Mdbi.     Haupt  reads  inU,  "fruit." 

2  Elmew;  see  W.  A.  I.  iv.  18,  42,  and  ii.  30,  42. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  247 

31.  A  deceitful  (?)  mouth  are  its  hidden  recesses 

32.  A  destructive  (?)  portent  are  its  columns. 

33.  A  girdle  of  dark  cloth  are  its  columns. 

34.  Of  white  stone  is  the  construction  (musab)  of  the  stone  fortress. 

35.  As  for  me,  'tis  the  mouth  of  the  land  of  the  enemy. 

36.  A  devouring  flame  (?)  is  its  lord. 

37.  Never  may  I  be  (thy)  bridegroom  for  ever  ! 

38.  Never  may  a  god  make  thee  joyous. 

39.  Go,  and  let  me  tell  (the  story)  of  thy  enslavements 

40.  of  those  into  whose  hands  thou  puttest  no  ransom. 

41.  To  Tammuz  the  bridegroom  (of  thy  youth)  thou  didst  look  ; 

42.  year  after  year  with  weeping  didst  thou  cling  to  him. 

43.  Alala,  the  eagle,  also  didst  thou  love  ; 

44.  thou  didst  strike  him  and  break  his  wings ; 

45;  he  remained  in  the  forest ;  he  begged  for  his  wings. 

46.  Thou  didst  love,  too,  a  lion  perfect  in  might ; 

47.  seven  by  seven  didst  thou  tear  out  his  teeth,  seven  by  seven. 

48.  And  thou  didst  love  a  horse  glorious  in  battle ; 

49.  he  submitted  himself;  with  spur  and  whip  didst  thou  cling  to 


50.  seven  leagues  didst  thou  cling  to  him  galloping ; 

51.  in  his  trouble  and  thirst  didst  thou  cling  to  him  : 

52.  to  his  mother  the  goddess  'Silili  with  tears  didst  thou  approach. 

53.  Thou  didst  love  also  the  shepherd  Tabulu, 

54.  who  continually  poured  out  for  thee  the  smoke  (of  sacrifice). 

55.  Every  day  was  he  slaughtering  for  thee  the  victims ; 

56.  thou  didst  bring  him  forth  and  into  a  hyena  didst  change  him ; 

57.  his  own  sheep-cote  drove  him  away 

58.  and  his  own  dogs  tore  his  wounds. 

59.  Moreover,  thou  didst  love  Isullanu1  the  gardener  of  thy  father, 

60.  who  was  ever  raising  for  thee  costly  trees. 

61.  Every  day  had  he  made  bright  thy  dish. 

62.  Thou  didst  take  from  him  (his)  eye  and  didst  mock  him : 

63.  '  0  my  Isullanu,  come,  let  us  eat  thine  abundant  store, 

64.  and  bring  out  thy  hand  and  dismiss  all  fear  of  us.* 

65.  Isullanu  says  to  thee  : 

66.  'As  for  me,  what  dost  thou  ask  of  me  *? 

67.  0  my  mother,  thou  cookest  not  (and)  I  eat  not ; 

1  In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  23,  Isullanu  is  called  by  his  Accadian  name  of 
Si-sigsig  or  Si-sinisim,  "he  who  makes  green  the  living  things." 

248  LECTURE   IV. 

68.  the  food  I  have  eaten  are  garlands  and  girdles ; 

69.  the  prison  of  the  hurricane  is  (thy)  hidden  recess.1 

70.  Thou  didst  listen  and  (didst  impose)  punishment ; 

71.  thou  didst  strike  him ;  to  bondage  thou  didst  (assign  him); 

72.  and  thou  raadest  him  sit  in  the  midst  of  (a  tomb  ?). 

73.  I  will  not  ascend  the  height ;  I  will  not  descend  to  the  (depth) ; 

74.  and  yet  thou  lovest  me  that  thou  (mayest  make)  me  as  they  are.' 

75.  When  Istar  (heard)  this, 

76.  Istar  was  enraged  and  (mounted  up)  to  heaven. 

77.  Moreover  Tstar  went  before  Anu  (her  father), 

78.  before  Anu  she  went  and  she  (says) : 

79.  '0  my  father,  Gisdhubar  has  kept  watch  on  me ; 

80.  Gisdhubar  has  counted  my  garlands, 

81.  my  garlands  and  my  girdles.'" 

Like  Potiphar's  wife,  Istar  thus  accuses  Gisdhubar  of 
doing  the  exact  contrary  of  what  he  really  had  done. 
The  portion  of  the  tablet  which  contained  the  conver 
sation  between  her  and  Anu  is  broken,  but  enough 
remains  to  show  that  she  eventually  persuaded  him  to 
punish  the  hero.  Anu  accordingly  created  a  divine  bull 
of  monstrous  size ;  but  without  much  result,  as  Gisdhubar 
and  his  friend  Ea-bani  succeeded  in  destroying  the  animal 
and  dragging  its  body  in  triumph  through  the  streets 
of  Erech.  "With  Gisdhubar  and  the  divine  bull  of  Anu, 
however,  we  are  not  at  present  interested.  "What  con 
cerns  us  just  now  is  the  list  given  by  Gisdhubar  of 
the  unhappy  victims  of  Istar' s  coquetry.  Of  the  first, 
Tammuz,  there  is  but  little  said.  Even  Sin-liqi-unnini, 
the  author  of  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar,  could  find  but  little 
in  the  story  of  Tammuz  which  could  throw  discredit  on 
the  goddess.  The  next  mentioned  is  Aldla,  "  the  eagle." 
Now  the  eagle  is  stated  to  be  "  the  symbol  (tsalam)  of 
the  noon-tide  sun;"  and  that  AMla,  whose  name  is  of 
Accadian  origin  signifying  "the  great  Spirit,"  has  solar 
connections,  is  indicated  not  only  by  the  fact  that  his 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  249 

consort  Tillili  is  the  sister  of  Tammuz  in  the  legend  of  the 
Descent  of  Istar,  but  also  from  the  compound  title  Aldla 
alam,  "  Alala  of  the  image."1  In  one  of  the  local  cos 
mogonies  of  Chaldeea,  however,  he  and  his  consort  took 
the  place  of  Assoros  and  Kissare,  the  primordial  heavens 
and  earth.  Like  them,  he  was  resolved  into  Anu  by  the 
monotheistic  school  ;2  and  a  text  associates  both  him  and 
Tillili  with  the  cosmogonic  deities  Lukhma  and  Lakhama, 
"  the  gods  who  are  immanent  in  the  heaven  and  in  the 
earth."3  "Who  the  lion  and  the  horse  were  we  do  not 
yet  know;  we  hear  of  "a  god  of  lions"  (W.A.I,  iii.  66, 
34),  and  one  of  the  Assyrian  names  of  the  month  Sebat  was 
"the  month  of  'Silili"  (K  104,  Rev.).  In  the  shepherd 
Tabulu,  however,  we  have  the  double  of  the  shepherd 
Tammuz  himself.  The  name  reminds  us  of  Abel  and 
Tubal-Kain,  more  especially  when  we  remember  that  it 
is  but  a  tipJiel  formation — so  common  in  Assyrian — from 
the  simpler  abalu.  His  fate  recalls  that  of  the  hunter 
Aktseon,  torn  by  his  own  dogs  through  the  anger  of 

1  W.A.I.  ii.  54,  12. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  11.    In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  66,  15,  we  have  (AN)  Sam-su 
(AN)  alam;  comp.  11.  18,  20,  26. 

3  D.T.  122,  17—20.     Laban(?)-same,  "the  brick  foundation  of 
heaven"  is  also  mentioned  in  the  same  text.     Nabonidos,  when  de 
scribing  the  rebuilding  of  the  temple  of  the  Moon-god  at  Harran,  says 
that  he  set  about  it  "  by  the  commission  (not  "  work,"  as  Latrille)  of 
the  god  Laban  (?),  the  lord  of  foundations  and  brick-work"  (libndti, 
W.  A.  I.  v.  64.  i.  53),  and  that  on  either  side  of  the  eastern  gate  of 
the  building  he  placed  "two  Lukhmu  gods  who  sweep  away  my  foes." 
Laban  is  mentioned  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  66,  6)  among  the  gods  whose  images 
stood  in  the  temple  of  Anu  at  Assur,  and  it  is  probable  that  he  was  of 
foreign  importation.     According  to  Genesis,  Harran  was  the  home  of 
Laban.     The  name  would  mean  "  the  white  one."     "  The  god  of  the 
Foundation"  (ur)  is  mentioned  in   79.  7-8.  68.      This  was  the  horizon 
of  heaven  as  opposed  to  the  zenith  or  Nebo. 

250  LECTURE   IV. 

Artemis,  the  Asianic  representative  of  the  Babylonian 
Istar.  Isullanu,  the  gardener  of  Ami,  is  probably  the 
mythic  prototype  of  the  historical  Sargon  of  Accad,  whom 
later  legend  turned  into  a  gardener  beloved  by  the 
goddess  Istar.  As  it  was  upon  the  famous  king  of  Accad 
that  the  old  myth  was  fastened,  it  is  possible  that  Isullanu 
had  been  the  representative  of  Tammuz  at  Accad  before 
the  cult  of  the  god  of  Eridu  had  been  introduced  there 
from  the  south. 

But  who,  all  this  while,  was  the  goddess,  whom  one 
legend  made  the  faithful  wife  enduring  even  death  for 
her  husband's  sake,  while  another  regarded  her  as  the 
most  faithless  and  cruel  of  coquettes?  I  have  already 
spoken  of  her  as  the  goddess  of  love,  and  such,  indeed, 
she  was  to  the  Babylonian  or  Assyrian  of  later  days.  In 
the  story  of  her  descent  into  Hades,  her  residence  in  the 
lower  world  is  marked  by  all  cessation  of  intercourse 
between  male  and  female  in  the  animal  creation,  as  well 
as  among  the  gods  of  heaven.  It  was  this  feature  of  the 
story  which  caused  it  to  find  its  way  into  the  literature 
of  another  people,  and  to  survive  the  days  when  the  clay 
tablets  of  Assyria  and  Babylon  could  still  be  read.  We 
find  it  serving  to  point  a  moral  in  the  pages  of  the 
Talmud.  We  are  there  told  how  a  pious  rabbi  once 
prayed  that  the  demon  of  lust  should  be  bound,  and  how 
his  petition  was  granted.  But  society  quickly  fell  into 
a  state  of  anarchy.  No  children  were  born;  no  eggs 
even  could  be  procured  for  food;  and  the  rabbi  was  at 
length  fain  to  confess  that  his  prayer  had  been  a  mistaken 
one,  and  to  ask  that  the  demon  should  again  be  free. 

But  though  a  moral  signification  thus  came  to  be  read 
into  the  old  Babylonian  myth,  it  was  a  signification  that 

TAMMTJZ    AND    ISTAE.  251 

was  originally  entirely  foreign  to  it.  Prof.  Tiele  has 
clearly  shown  that  the  legend  of  Istar's  descent  into 
Hades  is  but  a  thinly-veiled  description  of  the  earth- 
goddess  seeking  below  for  the  hidden  waters  of  life, 
which  shall  cause  the  Sun-god  and  all  nature  with  him 
to  rise  again  from  their  sleep  of  death.1  The  spirits  of 
earth,  the  gnomes  that  guard  its  treasures  below,  watch 
over  the  waters,  and  not  until  they  are  led  forth  and 
placed  on  their  golden  throne  can  their  precious  treasure 
be  secured.  It  is  the  earth  who  loses  her  adornments, 
one  by  one,  as  she  passes  slowly  downward  into  the 
palace-prison  of  the  infernal  goddess,  and  it  is  the  earth 
who  is  once  more  gladdened  at  spring-time  with  the 
returning  love  of  the  youthful  Sun-god. 

Istar,  then,  must  primitively  have  been  the  goddess 
of  the  earth,  and  the  bride  of  Tammuz  at  Eridu  must 
accordingly  have  been  his  mother  Dav-kina.  This  alone 
will  explain  the  persistent  element  in  the  myth  as  it 
made  its  way  to  the  Greeks,  according  to  which  the 
mother  of  Tammuz  was  also  his  sister.  Istar,  Tillili, 
Dav-kina,  were  all  but  different  names  and  forms  of  the 
same  divinity.  We  have  just  seen  that  Tillilij  at  all 
events,  was  the  primordial  earth. 

"What  Istar  was  primitively,  however,  will  not  explain 
what  she  became  in  those  later  ages  of  Babylonian  history 
to  which  our  monuments  belong.  Her  origin  faded  more 
and  more  into  the  background  •  new  elements  entered 
into  her  character ;  and  she  absorbed  the  attributes  and 
functions  of  numberless  local  divinities.  The  Istar  of 
Assur-bani-pal  or  Nabonidos  was  the  inheritress  of  cults 

1  Adcs  du  sixieme  Congres  Internationale  dcs  Orientalises,  ii.  1, 
pp.  495  6^. 

252  LECTURE   IV. 

and  beliefs  which  had  grown  up  in  different  localities 
and  had  gathered  round  the  persons  of  other  deities. 

The  Istar  of  the  historical  period  is  essentially  Semitic. 
But  let  me  not  be  misunderstood.  What  is  Semitic  in 
her  nature  is  an  after-growth,  which  cannot  be  explained 
unless  we  assume  that  it  has  grown  out  of  non-Semitic 
elements.  The  Semitic  superstructure  presupposes  a 
non-Semitic  basis.  It  is  only  thus  that  we  can  explain 
both  the  name  of  Istar  and  the  striking  difference  that 
exists  in  regard  to  her  character  between  the  Semites  of 
Babylonia  and  those  of  the  west.  It  is  only  where  the 
Semite  had  come  into  contact  with  the  Accadian  that  we 
find  the  name  and  worship  of  Istar  at  all.  We  look  in 
vain  for  it  among  the  Arabs  of  central  Arabia,  among 
the  descendants  of  those  who  parted  from  their  Semitic 
brethren  of  the  north  before  they  were  affected  by  the 
culture  of  primaeval  Babylonia.  We  find  the  name  of 
Aththor,  it  is  true,  on  the  southern  coast  of  Arabia ;  but 
we  find  there  also  the  name  of  the  Babylonian  Moon-god 
Sin,  and  other  traces  of  the  influence  which  Babylonian 
trade  could  not  fail  to  exert  in  comparatively  late  days. 
Inland,  Istar  remained  unknown. 

All  attempts  to  discover  a  Semitic  etymology  for  the 
name  have  been  unavailing.  And  there  is  a  good  reason 
why  they  should  be  so.  The  name  itself  bears  evidence 
to  its  non-Semitic  origin.  We  find  it  in  its  earliest  form 
in  Babylonia ;  and  here,  though  it  denotes  the  name  of  a 
female  goddess,  it  is  unprovided  with  that  grammatical 
sign  of  the  feminine — the  dental  suffix — which  marks 
the  names  of  other  genuinely  Semitic  goddesses.  Belit, 
Zarpanit,  Anat,  Tasmit,  all  show  by  their  termination 
their  source  and  meaning ;  and  Istar,  without  that  termi- 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  253 

nation,  in  spite  of  its  meaning,  shows  equally  plainly 
what  its  source  must  be.  As  the  name  travelled  further 
to  the  west,  away  from  its  old  associations  with  Chaldsea, 
the  grammatical  instincts  of  the  Semites  could  no  longer 
be  held  in  check,  and  Istar  was  transformed  into  the 
Ashtoreth  of  the  Old  Testament  and  the  Phoenician 
monuments,  the  Astarte  of  the  Greeks.  Even  in  Baby 
lonia  and  Assyria,  when  Istar  became  the  representative 
of  all  other  female  divinities,  and  the  name  passed  into 
a  common  term  signifying  "a  goddess,"  the  Semitic 
feminine  suffix  was  attached  to  it.  But  the  suffix  was 
attached  to  it  only  when  it  was  thus  used,  no  longer  as 
a  proper  name,  but  as  one  of  the  words  of  the  Semitic 
dictionary;  whenever  it  still  retained  its  ancient  sense 
and  denoted  a  specific  deity,  it  retained  also  its  ancient 
genderless  appearance.  As  a  foreign  name,  it  continued 
to  the  last  a  stranger  in  the  province  of  Semitic  grammar. 
We  can  thus  understand  why  it  was  that  the  Semites 
sometimes  changed  the  old  Chaldsean  goddess  into  a 
male  divinity.  On  the  Moabite  Stone,  Mesha  declares 
that  he  dedicated  Nebo  of  Israel  to  Istar-Kemosh,  "to 
Istar  who  is  the  god  Kemosh;"  and  an  astronomical 
tablet1  informs  us  that  Dilbat,  the  planet  Venus,  which, 
as  we  shall  see,  was  the  primitive  Istar,  is  a  a  female  at 
sunset  and  a  male  at  sunrise,"  the  word  employed  for 
male  being  a  curiously  artificial  coinage,  such  as  "  maless" 
would  be  in  English.  In  fact,  the  tablet  goes  on  to  add 
that  Venus  was  not  only  a  male  by  reason  of  her  identifica 
tion  with  the  morning  star,  she  was  also  the  rising  Sun-god 
himself,  and  thus  "  a  male  and  the  offspring  (of  a  male);" 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  53.  30—39. 

254  LECTURE    IV. 

while  at  sunset  she  was  the  god  Adar,  and  thus  "an 
androgyne  and  the  offspring  (of  an  androgyne)."  After 
this,  we  are  told  that  "  Venus  at  sunrise  is  Istar  of  Acead 
by  name,'7  while  at  sunset  she  is  "  Istar  of  Erech  by 
name;"  at  sunrise  she  is  "Istar  of  the  stars,"  at  sunset 
lilat  Hi,  "the  mistress  of  the  gods."  The  doubt  as  to 
whether  Istar  were  male  or  female  was  the  same  as  that 
which  was  felt  by  the  Semites  in  regard  to  other  Acca- 
dian  deities.1  "Where  there  was  no  grammatical  indica 
tion,  where  the  same  word  might  mean  "master"  or 
"mistress"  according  to  the  context,  the  zealous  but 
half-educated  Semitic  neophyte  might  well  be  forgiven 
the  mistakes  he  sometimes  made  in  his  adoption  and 
adaptation  of  the  older  divinities.  It  was  thus  that  the 
ambiguity  of  the  Accadian  nin,  which  signified  at  once 
"lord"  and  "lady,"  led  him  at  times  to  transform  the 
god  Adar  into  a  goddess;  and  I  have  already  pointed 
out  in  an  earlier  Lecture  how  in  like  manner  the  god 
A  became  the  wife  of  the  Sun.  But  that  a  similar  doubt 
should  hang  over  the  sex  of  Istar  proves  more  plainly 
than  anything  else  the  non-Semitic  origin  of  her  name 
and  character.2 

"When,  however,  we  come  to  look  closely  into  this 
character,  we  shall  find  here  also  clear  traces  of  a  non- 

1  In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  35,  18,  we  are  told  that  the  god  Tiskhu  was  "  Istar 
of  Erech ;"  and  yet  in  ii.  57,  35,  Tiskhu  appears  as  the  equivalent  of 
Adar  as  "god  of  libations."     But  it  must  be  remembered  that  the 
Semites  were  doubtful  about  the  sex  of  Adar.     On  the  other  hand, 
Iskhara,  another  name  of  Istar  (ii.  49,  14 ;  K  4195,  7),  is  said  to  be  a 
male  deity  whose  wife  was  Almanu  or  (Al)manati  (Strassrnaier,  3901). 

2  That  the  Phoenicians  also  knew  of  a  male  Istar  is  perhaps  indi 
cated  by  the  Greek  myth  which  made  Europa  the  wife  of  Asterios, 
the  king  of  Phoenician  Krete. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  255 

Semitic  descent.  In  the  first  place,  Istar  is  distinguished 
from  the  other  goddesses  of  the  Semitic  world  by  her 
independent  nature.  She  is  not  the  mere  reflexion  of 
the  male  divinity,  like  Anat  or  Beltis  or  Zarpanit ;  in  so  far 
as  she  is  Istar,  she  is  placed  on  an  equal  footing  with  the 
male  deities  of  the  pantheon.  In  this  respect  she  stands 
in  marked  contrast  to  the  goddesses  of  the  pure  Semitic 
faith,  and  to  the  purely  Semitic  conception  of  the  divine 
government  of  the  world.  She  holds  equal  rank  with 
the  Sun-god  Baal ;  Babylonian  mythology,  in  fact,  makes 
her  his  sister,  and  treats  her  as  if  she  were  a  god.  We 
may  even  say  that  she  takes  rank  before  him,  at  all 
events  in  early  times,  in  conformity  with  the  old  Accadian 
custom  of  setting  the  woman  before  the  man,  but  in  fla 
grant  violation  of  the  contrary  practice  of  the  Semitic  race. 
So  far,  indeed,  from  being  the  double  and  shadow  of  the 
god,  Istar  is  rather  the  divinity  who  gives  life  and  sub 
stance  to  her  divine  lovers.  Tammuz  himself  is  but 
"the  bridegroom"  of  Istar;  it  was  only  for  the  sake  of 
Istar  that  his  name  was  held  in  honour.  Istar,  in  short, 
is  an  anomaly  in  the  Semitic  pantheon ;  she  is  there  as  a 
goddess  who  masquerades  in  the  garb  of  a  god. 

Away  from  Accadian  influences,  in  the  Phoenician 
lands  of  the  west,  the  character,  like  the  name,  of  the 
goddess  was  more  closely  accommodated  to  Semitic  ideas. 
Istar  had  become  Ashtoreth,  and  Ashtoreth  had  put  on 
the  colourless  character  of  the  Semitic  goddess.  Hence 
it  was  that,  just  as  Baal  became  the  common  designation 
of  the  male  deity,  Ashtoreth  was  the  common  designa 
tion  of  the  female.  By  the  side  of  the  Baalim  stood  the 
Ashtaroth — those  goddesses  whose  sole  right  to  exist  was 
the  necessity  of  providing  the  male  divinity  with  a  con- 


sort.  Asherah,  the  southern  Canaanitish  goddess  of  fer 
tility,  alone  retained  some  of  the  independence  of  the 
Babylonian  Istar. 

In  the  second  place,  there  is  a  very  important  differ 
ence  between  the  Istar  of  Babylonia  and  the  Ashtoreth 
of  Phoenicia.  Ashtoreth  was  the  goddess  of  the  moon ; 
Istar  was  not.  It  was  in  the  west  alone  that  Astarte  was 

"  Queen  of  heaven  with  crescent  horns ; 
To  whose  bright  image  nightly  by  the  moon 
Sidonian  virgins  paid  their  vows  and  songs." 

It  was  in  the  west  alone  that  the  shrine  was  erected  to 
Ashtoreth  Karnaim,1  "Ashtoreth  of  the  double  horn;" 
and  Greek  legend  described  the  wandering  Astarte,  under 
the  name  of  Europa,  crossing  the  celestial  sea  on  the  bull 
that  Anu  had  created  for  her  so  long  before  to  punish 
the  disdainful  Gisdhubar.  In  Babylonia  and  Assyria, 
however,  Istar  and  the  moon  were  separate  one  from 
another.  The  moon  was  conceived  of  as  a  god,  not  as  a 
goddess,  in  conformity  with  pre-Semitic  ideas ;  and  the 
Moon-god  Sin  was  never  confounded  with  the  goddess 
Istar.  It  must  have  been  the  same  wherever  the  worship 
of  Sin  extended,  whether  in  Harran  in  the  north  or  in 
Yemen  and  the  Sinaitic  desert  in  the  south.  But  the 
worship  never  made  its  way  to  Canaan.  Sin  failed  to 
establish  himself  there,  and  the  moon  accordingly  re 
mained  the  pale  mirror  and  double  of  the  mightier  Baal. 
The  Semites  of  Phosnicia  were  too  distant  from  the  cul 
tured  kingdoms  of  the  Euphrates  to  allow  their  religious 
instincts  to  be  overridden  and  transformed.  The  name 
and  cult  of  Istar  were  indeed  introduced  among  them, 

1  Gen.  xiv.  5,  where  the  word  is  wrongly  punctuated  "  Ashteroth." 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAB.  257 

but  a  new  interpretation  was  given  to  both.  Istar  sank 
to  the  level  and  took  the  place  of  the  older  goddesses  of 
the  Canaanitish  faith. 

Perhaps  you  will  ask  me  what  is  the  meaning  of  the 
name  of  Istar?  This,  however,  is  a  question  which  I 
cannot  answer.  The  Babylonians  of  the  historical  age 
do  not  seem  to  have  known  what  was  its  origin,  and  it  is 
therefore  quite  useless  for  us  to  speculate  on  the  subject. 
Its  true  etymology  was  buried  in  the  night  of  antiquity. 
But  its  earliest  application  appears  to  have  been  to  the 
evening  star.  This  is  the  oldest  signification  that  we  can 
assign  to  the  word,  which  by  the  way,  it  may  be  noticed, 
does  not  occur  in  any  of  theAccadian  texts  that  we 

The  legend  of  the  assault  of  the  seven  wicked  spirits 
upon  the  moon  tells  us  pretty  clearly  who  the  goddess 
Istar  was  primarily  supposed  to  be.  Mul-lil,  it  is  said, 
"  had  appointed  Sin,  Samas  and  Istar,  to  rule  the  vault  of 
heaven,"  and,  "  along  with  Anu,  had  given  them  to  share 
the  lordship  of  the  hosts  of  heaven.  To  the  three  of 
them,  those  gods  his  children,  he  had  entrusted  the  night 
and  the  day ;  that  they  cease  not  their  work  he  urged 
them.  Then  those  seven,  the  wicked  gods,  darted  upon 
the  vault  of  heaven;  before  Sin,  the  god  of  light,  they 
came  in  fierce  attack ;  Samas  the  hero  and  Eimmon  the 

1  From  which  we  may  infer  that  the  name  originated  in  one  of  the 
smaller  cities  of  the  country.  It  is  possibly  a  side-form  of  Iskhara, 
Is-tar  and  Is-khara  being  alike  compounds  of  is.  The  suffix  -ra  or  -r 
is  common  in  Proto-Chaldsean,  and  the  Semitic  spelling  of  the  first  syl 
lable  (with  'ain),  like  that  of  the  first  syllable  of  Anu,  points  to  its 
having  originally  been  as.  Istar  appears  as  Esther  in  the  book  of 
Esther,  where  Mordechai,  it  may  be  noted,  is  a  derivative  from  Mero- 


258  LECTURE   IV. 

warrior  turned  and  fled ;  Istar  set  up  a  glittering  throne 
by  the  side  of  Anu  the  king,  and  plotted  for  the  sovereignty 
of  heaven."1  Thus  once  more  the  mythologist  gives  the 
goddess  an  unfavourable  character,  though  it  is  easy  to 
see  what  the  story  means.  When  the  moon  is  eclipsed, 
the  evening  star  has  no  longer  any  rival  in  the  sky ;  it 
shines  with  increased  brilliancy,  and  seems  to  meditate 
ruling  the  night  alone,  in  company  only  with  the  heaven 

Already,  before  the  days  of  Sargon  of  Accad  and  the 
compilation  of  the  great  Babylonian  work  on  astronomy, 
it  had  been  discovered  that  the  evening  and  morning 
stars  were  one  and  the  same.  Not  only,  therefore,  was 
Istar  the  evening  star,  the  companion  of  the  moon ;  she 
became  also  the  morning  star,  the  companion  and  herald 
of  the  sun.  It  was  thus  that  she  assumed  the  attributes 
and  titles  of  a  male  deity,  since  Dun-khud-e,  "  the  hero 
who  issues  forth  at  daybreak,"  was  both  a  god  and  the 
morning  star.  As  the  morning  star,  therefore,  Istar  was 
a  god  and  the  successor  of  a  god,  so  that  it  is  not  won 
derful  if  the  bewildered  Semite,  who  found  no  visible 
sign  of  gender  in  the  name  of  the  divinity  he  had  adopted, 
should  sometimes  have  regarded  Istar  as  the  masculine 
form  of  Ashtoreth.  Some  of  the  early  Accadian  titles 
of  Istar  belong  to  her  as  the  star  of  the  morning,  though 
the  title  of  "Lady  of  Kising,"2  given  her  as  "the  wife 

1  W.A.L  iv.  5,  60—79. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  54,  20.     As  "  Lady  of  the  dawn"  she  was  called  Bis- 
bizi,  a  re-duplicated  form,  apparently,  of  bis  or  pes,  which  is  rendered 
"by  mamlu  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  69,  33;  21,  66),  a  synonym  of  allallu  (ii.  31,  65) 
and  rahdbu  (ii.  35,  35).    Compare  pes,  "  a  pig."   Mahdbu  is  the  Hebrew 
rahab,  "the  crocodile"  as  a  symbol  of  Egypt,  and  denoted  in  Assyrian 
"  a  sea-monster."     Hence  George  Smith  seems  to  have  been  right  in 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  259 

of  Aim"  (W.A.I,  ii.  54,  15),  would  apply  equally  to  the 
evening  star. 

In  making  her  the  wife  of  the  Sky-god,  the  mytho- 
logists  were  only  expressing  in  another  way  what  the 
poet  of  the  legend  of  the  seven  evil  spirits  had  denoted 
by  saying  that  Istar  set  up  her  throne  by  the  side  of 
Ann.  More  usually,  however,  the  relation  between  Istar 
and  Ann  was  regarded  as  a  genetic  one ;  she  was  the 
daughter,  rather  than  the  wife,  of  the  Sky.1  At  times, 
again,  she  is  called  the  daughter  of  the  Moon-god,  the 
Moon-god  being  here  the  larger  body  which  begets  the 
smaller  star.  It  is  possible  that  these  different  views 
about  her  descent  are  derived  from  different  centres  of 
worship ;  that  which  made  her  the  daughter  of  Sin 
having  its  origin  in  Ur,  while  that  which  made  her  the 
daughter  of  Anu  emanated  from  Erech.  At  any  rate, 
her  connection  with  the  Moon-god  seems  to  have  been 
the  more  popular  view  in  Semitic  times. 

As  a  planet,  Istar's  ordinary  name  was  the  Accadian 
Dilbat,  or  "  Announcer. "  One  of  the  smaller  cities  of 
Babylonia  had  the  same  name,  and  was  probably  the  chief 
seat  of  the  worship  of  the  goddess  under  this  particular 
form.  It  is  obvious  that  the  name  must  have  been 
originally  applied  not  to  the  evening  but  to  the  morning 
star.  It  was  only  as  the  announcer  of  day  and  the 
herald  of  the  sun  that  Yenus  could  be  the  Accadian 
representative  of  the  Semitic  JSTebo.  The  other  mes- 

identifying  the  bis-bis  or  "dragon"  Tiamat  with  Rahab,  since  is  bis-bis 
is  interpreted  turbuMu  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  32,  9),  "  the  locust-swarin  of  the 
sea,"  according  to  ii.  5,  4. 

1  Both  at  Erech  and  Tel-loh  her  temple  was  called  E-Ana,  "the 
temple  of  the  Sky." 


260  LECTURE    IV. 

sengers  of  the  gods  were  male ;  and  iu  Semitic  times 
the  fact  that  there  had  once  been  a  female  messenger 
was  forgotten.  The  name  of  Dilbat,  it  is  true,  remained, 
but  only  as  the  name  of  a  star  ;  the  place  of  I  star  as  the 
herald  of  the  Sun-god  was  taken,  at  Babylon  at  all  events, 
by  Nebo. 

It  is  possible  that  the  records  of  the  city  of  Dilbat,  if 
ever  they  are  recovered,  will  show  us  that  this  was  the 
primal  home  of  the  name  of  Istar  itself,  and  the  centre 
from  which  it  first  spread.  If  so,  however,  it  was  little 
more  than  the  primal  home  of  the  goddess's  name.  The 
real  source  and  centre  of  the  worship  of  Istar  at  the  dawn 
of  the  historical  period,  the  starting-point  from  which 
it  was  handed  on  to  the  Semites  and  became  overlaid 
with  Semitic  beliefs  and  practices,  was  not  Dilbat,  but 
Erech.  In  the  days  when  Erech  had  been  a  leading 
state,  when  the  cult  of  the  Sky-god  had  been  carried  by 
its  people  to  other  parts  of  the  Eastern  world,  the  cult 
of  Istar  also  had  been  carried  with  it.  Wherever  the 
worship  of  Anu  had  gone,  the  worship  of  Istar,  the 
daughter  of  Anu,  went  too.  But  the  Istar  of  Erech  was 
originally  known  by  a  different  name.  She  was  Nana, 
"the  lady,"  a  title  which  does  not  appear  to  have  been 
replaced  by  the  name  of  Istar  until  after  the  beginning  of 
the  Semitic  period.  At  all  events  the  common  title  of 
the  goddess  in  the  Accadian  texts  is  ISTdna ;  the  word 
Istar  is  never  found  in  them.  As  Nana,1  "  the  lady,"  she 
continued  to  be  known  at  Erech  down  to  the  most  recent 
times.  It  was  the  famous  image  of  Nana  that  the  Elamite 

1  As  the  name  is  always  written  in  combination  with  the  prefix  of 
divinity,  the  compound  character  was  called  In-Nana,  for  An-Nana 
(see  above,  p.  116), 

TA.MMUZ   AND   ISTAR.  261 

invader  Kudur-naukhundi  had  carried  off  1635  years 
before  the  generals  of  Assur-bani-pal  recovered  it  in  the 
sack  of  Shushan,  and  late  texts  draw  a  distinction  between 
ISTana  and  Istar.  Thus  in  a  tablet  of  exorcisms,  the  patient 
is  told  to  address  "  Istar,  Nana  and  Kasba,"1  and  an 
augural,  tablet  is  careful  to  distinguish  between  Nana  and 
u  Istar  the  queen"  (milkatu)? 

It  was,  in  fact,  easy  to  identify  a  goddess  who  bore  so 
general  a  name  as  that  of  "the  lady"  with  any  other 
female  divinity.  At  Borsippa,  for  instance^  Nana  was 
made  one  with  an  otherwise  unknown  deity  'Sutitil  (?), 
"  the  goddess  who  quickens  the  body."  A  text  copied  for 
Assur-bani-pal  from  a  tablet  originally  written  at  Baby  Ion, 
contains  part  of  a  hymn  which  had  to  be  recited  "  in  the 
presence  of  Bel-Merodach  when  he  had  seated  himself 
(ittasbu)  in  the  house  of  sacrifice  (akitum)  in  the  beginning 
of  Nisan."  The  latter  portion  reads  as.  follows :. 

"  (0  Bel,  why)  dost  thou  not  take  thy  seat  in  Babylon  ?  In  E-Sag- 
gil  is  set  thy  dwelling-place.  '  His  is  the  .  .  .  .'  they  have  not  said  to 
thee,  and  Zarpanit  has  not  cried  to  thee.  0  Bel,  why  dost  thou  not 
take  thy  seat  in  Borsippa  ?  In  E-Zida  is  set  thy  dwelling-place.  '  O 
Nebo,  I  am  here,'  they  have  not  said  to  thee ;  Nana  the  goddess  who 
quickens  the  body  has  not  cried  to  thee.  0  Bel,  why  dost  thou  not 
take  thy  seat  in  Kis  1  In  E-Dubba  (the  house  of  libation)  is  set  thy 
dwelling-place.  *0  Zamama,3  why  dost  thou  not  take  thy  seat?' 

1  K3464,  18. 

2  K  220,  Obv.  4,  13.    The  divine  names  in  this  tablet  follow  in  this 
order :  Istar  of  Babylon,  Nana,  Kani-surra,  the  god  of  Kibib,  Nebo, 
Tasmetu,  Gula,  'Sakin  of  E-Ana,  Samas,  Sala,  Istar  the  queen,  Nergal 
(Ugur),  Kirnmon,  Zamama,  Mul-lil. 

3  Zamama  (in  Sumerian  Zagaga)  was  the  Sun-god  of  Kis  (W.  A.  I. 
ii.  60,  7  ;  61,  52),  and  was  consequently  identified  with  Adar  by  the 
mythologists  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  70).     On  a  contract-stone  he  is  symbol 
ized  by  an  eagle,  which  is  said  to  be  "  the  image  of  the  southern  sun 

262  LECTUltE    IV. 

Bahn,  the  queen  of  Kis,  has  not  cried  to  thee.  •  0  Eel,  why  dost  thou 
not  take  thy  seat  in  Cutha  ?  In  E-'Sulim  [SIT-LAM]  is  set  thy  dwelling- 
place.  '  0  Nergal  (Ugur),  why  dost  thou  not  take  thy  seat  ] '  Laz 
and  the  goddess  Mamit  have  not  said  unto  thee.  '  0  iny  pure  one,' 
they  have  not  cried  unto  thee."1 

It  will  be  noticed  that  in  this  hymn,  while  Nana  has 
ceased  to  be  the  special  goddess  of  Erech  and  has  become 
the  goddess  of  Borsippa,  she  is  ranked  with  Bahu  of  Kis 
and  Laz  and  Mamit — that  terrible  "Ban"  which  even 
the  gods  must  obey — who  presided  over  Cutha.  Laz 
disappeared  almost  entirety  from  the  pantheon  of  later 
Babylonia,  and  was  remembered  only  by  antiquarians, 
except  perhaps  in  Cutha  itself;2  but  the  name  of  Bahu 
remained  better  known.  Bahu  probably  was  the  Gurra 
of  Eridu,  the  great  mother  "deep"  which  was  the  home 
of  the  seven  evil  spirits,3  and  represented  the  waters  of 
the  abyss  in  their  original  chaotic  state  before  they  were 
reduced  to  order  by  the  creator  Ea.4  She  seems  to  have 
been  the  Bohu  of  Genesis,  the  Baau  of  the  Phceniciaa 

of  Kis."   We  gather  also  from.  W.  A.  I.  ii.  57,  53,  that  he  was  symbol 
ised  (like  Alala)  by  the  eagle. 

1  Unnumbered;  a  few  lines  are  quoted  by  Strassmaier,  6049. 

2  Yet  in  2  Kings  xvii.  30,  "the  men  of  Cuth"  are  said  to  have 
"  made  Nergal"  only,  from  which  we  may  infer  that  the  ordinary  popu 
lation  even  of  Cutha  had  forgotten  the  special  name  of  their  ancient 

3  W.A.I.  iv.  15,  5. 

4  Zikum  and  Zigarum  or  Zikiira  are  the  names  of  Gurra  when 
regarded  as  the  whole  body  of  chaos  out  of  which  the  heaven  and  the 
earth  were  formed  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  48.  26,  27).    Zigarum  or  Zikiira  stands 
for  Zi-Giira,  "  the  spirit  of  Gtira."      Cp.  Gen.  i.  2.      If  the  king  of 
Telloh  whose  name  reads  Ur-Bahu  is  to  be  identified  with  the  well- 
known  Chaldaaan  monarch  Ur-Bagas  or  Ur-Zikum,  the  identity  of  Bahu 
and  Zikum  would  be  certain.     Bahu  is  of  Semitic  origin,  but  was  bor 
rowed  by  the  Accadians  at  an  early  period. 


Sanchnniathon,  whose  Greek  interpreter  identifies  her 
with  the  night  and  makes  her  the  mother  of  the  first 
mortal  men.  The  Semitic  Bohu,  however,  was  no  deity, 
much  less  a  goddess;  the  word  signified  merely  " empti 
ness,"  and  was  thus  a  quite  unsuitable  rendering  of  the 
old  Accadian  Gurra,  "  the  watery  deep."  There  is  little 
reason  for  wonder,  therefore,  that  the  recollection  of 
what  Bahu  had  primitively  been  should  have  faded  out 
of  the  memories  of  the  Semitic  Babylonians.  As  the 
gods  of  the  Accadians  had  become  Baalim,  so  Bahu,  like 
the  other  goddesses  of  primaeval  Chaldsea,  was  swept 
into  the  common  vortex  of  Ashtaroth.  She  became 
the  wife  of  the  Sun-god  of  Kis  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  63),  and, 
when  he  was  identified  with  the  Sun-god  of  Nipur,  of 
Adar  also  (K 133,  21).  She  thus  passed  into  Gula,  "  the 
great  goddess,"  who,  though  carefully  distinguished  from 
both  Bahu  and  Nana  in  the  earlier  texts,  ended  in  the 
Semitic  period  by  becoming  confounded  with  both.  She 
was  originally  the  local  goddess  of  Ms  in,1  and  had  the 
titles  of  "lady  of  the  evening,"  "lady  of  the  house  of 
death,"  "lady  of  life  and  death."  In  one  of  the  prayers 
prescribed  for  recitation  in  the  temple  of  Merodach  at 
Babylon,  she  is  invoked  as  "  the  mother  who  has  begotten 
the  black-headed  race  (of  Accadians)."  She  thus  takes 
the  place  that  is  occupied  by  Istar  in  the  story  of  the 
Deluge,  who  is  there  made  to  declare  that  "I  have 
begotten  my  people,"  and  is  called  Eubat,  the  Assyrian 
equivalent  of  the  Accadian  Gula.  In  fact,  it  is  pretty 
clear  from  the  local  titles  of  Gula  that  she  must  once 
have  been  the  evening  star ;  and  we  can  therefore  under- 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  67,  31. 

264  LECTURE   IV. 

stand  why  it  is  that  on  the  one  hand  she  is  termed  "the 
wife  of  the  southern  sun," l  and  on  the  other  hand  is  made 
the  consort  of  Adar  by  the  mythologists.  She  forms  the 
common  meeting -point  of  the  various  local  deities  of 
Chaldaea  who  were  connected  with  the  Sun-god ;  Balm, 
A,  Sala,  all  alike  are  Gula,  "  the  great  one ;"  and  Gula  is 
but  the  Accadian  original  of  Eubat,  the  Semitic  Istar. 
In  this  way  we  may  explain  the  statement  that  Gula  is 
"  the  heaven"  (W.  A.  I.  v.  31,  58),  the  sky  of  the  evening 
which  was  ruled  by  the  evening  star. 

But  it  is  also  quite  possible  that,  as  Hommel  thinks, 
one  of  the  elements  which  went  to  make  up  the  character 
of  the  later  Istar  was  a  goddess  of  the  sky  who  corre 
sponded  to  the  Sky-god  of  Erech.  If  so,  this  might  well 
have  been  Gula,  whose  assimilation  to  Istar  would  have 
been  assisted  by  the  close  relation  existing  between  Anu 
and  Nana.  However  that  may  be,  the  Istar  of  the 
Semitic  period  inherited  the  attributes  of  Dav-kina,  the 
goddess  of  the  earth.  The  bride  of  Tammuz  of  Eridu 
was  not  the  Istar  of  Erech,  not  the  Istar  of  the  evening 
star,  but  a  goddess  of  the  earth.  At  Eridu,  the  goddess 
of  the  earth  was  Dav-kina,  his  own  mother,  and  we  can 
thus  trace  to  its  primitive  home  those  forms  of  the  myth 
of  Adonis  which  made  his  mother  his  sister  as  well.  In 
Cyprus,  the  Phoenicians  called  him  Gingras,  and  declared 
that  Kinyras  was  his  father's  name.  Kinyras,  however, 
is  but  a  popular  perversion  of  Gingras,  slightly  changed 
in  pronunciation  so  as  to  remind  the  speaker  of  the 
Phoenician  Jcinnor,  "the  zither,"  just  as  Kenkhreis,  the 
wife  of  Kinyras,  is  again  but  Gingras  in  an  Hellenised 

l  W.  A.  I.  i.  70.  4,  5. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAE.  265 

form.  "Now  the  title  of  Gingras  seems  to  bear  the  marks 
of  its  origin  upon  its  face.  It  is  the  old  Accadian 
Gingiri,  or  Gingira,  which  we  are  told  was  the  Accadian 
name  of  Istar.1  Gingiri,  however,  meant  nothing  more 
specific  than  "  goddess."  It  was  the  feminine  equivalent 
of  the  masculine  dingir,  and,  like  dingir,  signified  "  creator." 
The  "great"  goddess  of  southern  Babylonia  was  thus 
the  creator  of  the  world  just  as  much  as  the  god  who 
stood  by  her  side. 

The  identification  of  Istar  and  Gingira  simplified  the 
process  whereby  the  worship  of  the  goddess  spread  through 
Babylonia.  Each  city  had  its  own  Gingira,  or  "creatress ;" 
each  city,  therefore,  gave  a  welcome  to  its  own  Istar. 
When  the  empire  of  Sargon  had  transported  the  deities 
of  southern  Chaldeea  to  Accad,  Istar  naturally  accom 
panied  her  bridegroom  Tammuz.  Whether  the  Semitic 
colouring  which  the  worship  of  Istar  received  was  given 
to  it  now  for  the  first  time  at  Accad,  or  whether  it  had 
already  been  received  at  Erech,  we  have  no  means  of 
determining.  The  fact  remains  that  from  henceforth 
Istar  became  a  Semitic  goddess ;  her  cult  was  almost 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  29.  The  ideographs  of  which  it  is  a  gloss  read 
Sar-sar,  a  name  of  Ea,  according  to  ii.  55,  54.  Perhaps  therefore  we 
should  look  to  Eridu  as  the  source  of  the  name,  where  Ea  and  Dav- 
kina  would  be  grouped  together  as  "  the  gods  Sar-sar,"  corresponding 
to  the  An-sar  and  Ki-sar  of  another  system  of  cosmogony.  However, 
the  words  explained  in  the  portion  of  the  text  which  gives  the  gloss 
Gingira  seem  to  belong  to  a  document  that  emanated  from  the  court  of 
Sargon  of  Accad ;  see  11.  40,  47,  and  the  astronomical  notices.  In  the 
early  Accadian  inscriptions  Gingira  has  the  more  correct  form  Gingiri 
(written  GiNGi-n).  The  mode  of  writing  the  name  proved  very  con 
venient  for  the  Semites,  who  regarded  it  as  expressing  their  Ista-ri 
(instead  of  Istar  or  Istaru),  as  well  as  for  the  people  of  Van  in  after 
times,  who  employed  it  to  denote  the  name  of  their  own  goddess  'Sari 
(instead  of  'Saris).  See  also  above,  p.  143. 

266  LECTURE    IV. 

purely  Semitic  in  character,  and  the  two  great  centres  of 
her  worship  were  the  Semitic  cities  of  Erech  and  Accad. 
Her  worship  was  a  reflexion  of  that  worship  of  nature 
which  underlay  the  Semitic  conception  of  Baalism.  The 
fierce  passions  excited  by  an  Eastern  sun  found  their 
expression  in  it.  Prostitution  became  a  religious  duty, 
whose  wages  were  consecrated  to  the  goddess  of  love. 
She  was  served  by  eunuchs  and  by  trains  of  men  and 
boys  who  dressed  like  women  and  gave  themselves  up  to 
women's  pursuits.  Istar,  in  fact,  had  ceased  to  be  the 
"pure"  goddess  of  the  evening  star.  The  other  elements 
in  her  hybrid  character  had  come  to  the  front,  aided  by 
the  Semitic  conception  of  the  female  side  of  the  divinity. 
She  was  now  the  fruitful  goddess  of  the  earth,  teeming 
with  fertility,  the  feminine  development  of  the  life-giving 
Sun-god,  the  patroness  of  love.  The  worshipper  who 
would  serve  her  truly  had  to  share  with  her  her  pains 
and  pleasures.  Only  thus  could  he  live  the  divine  life, 
and  be,  as  it  were,  united  with  the  deity.  It  was  on  this 
account  that  the  women  wept  with  Istar  each  year  over 
the  fatal  wound  of  Tammuz ;  it  was  on  this  account  that 
her  temples  were  filled  with  the  victims  of  sexual  passion 
and  religious  frenzy,  and  that  her  festivals  were  scenes 
of  consecrated  orgies.  As  the  worship  of  the  goddess 
spread  westward,  the  revolting  features  connected  with 
it  spread  at  the  same  time.  The  prophets  of  Israel 
denounce  the  abominations  committed  in  honour  of  Ash- 
toreth  and  Baal  within  the  sacred  walls  of  Jerusalem 
itself ;  the  Greek  writers  stand  aghast  at  the  violations 
of  social  decency  enjoined  as  religious  duties  on  the 
adorers  of  the  oriental  Aphrodite ;  and  Lucian  himself 
- — if  Lucian  indeed  be  the  author  of  the  treatise — is 


shocked  at  the  self-mutilation  practised  before  tlie  altar 
of  the  Syrian  goddess  of  Hierapolis.  From  Syria,  the 
cult,  with  all  its  rites,  made  its  way,  like  that  of  Attys- 
Adonis,  to  the  populations  beyond  the  Taurus.  At 
Komana  in  Kappadokia,  the  goddess  Ma  was  ministered 
to  by  6000  eunuch-priests,  and  the  Galli  of  Phrygia 
rivalled  the  priests  of  Baal  and  Ashtoreth  in  cutting 
their  arms  with,  knives,  in  scourging  their  backs,  and  in 
piercing  their  flesh  with  darts.  The  worship  of  the 
fierce  powers  of  nature,  at  once  life-giving  and  death- 
dealing,  which  required  from  the  believer  a  sympathetic 
participation  in  the  sufferings  and  pleasures  of  his  deities, 
produced  alternate  outbursts  of  frenzied  self-torture  and 
frenzied  lust. 

There  was,  however,  a  gentler  side  to  the  worship  of 
Istar.  The  cult  of  a  goddess  who  watched  over  the 
family  bond  and  whose  help  was  ever  assured  to  the 
faithful  in  his  trouble,  could  not  but  exercise  a  human 
ising  influence,  however  much  that  influence  may  have 
been  sullied  by  the  excesses  of  the  popular  religion. 
But  there  were  many  whose  higher  and  finer  natures 
were  affected  only  by  the  humanising  influence  and  not 
by  the  popular  faith.  Babylonia  does  not  seem  to  have 
produced  any  class  of  men  like  the  Israelitish  prophets ; 
but  it  produced  cultivated  scribes  and  thinkers,  who  sought 
and  found  beneath  the  superstitions  of  their  countrymen 
a  purer  religion  and  a  more  abiding  form  of  faith.  Istar 
was  to  them  a  divine  "  mother,"  the  goddess  who  had 
begotten  mankind,  and  who  cared  for  their  welfare  with 
a  mother's  love.  It  is  true  that  they  seem  to  have  pre 
ferred  addressing  her  by  some  other  name  than  that 
which  was  polluted  by  the  Galli  and  their  female  com- 

268  LECTURE   IV. 

rades ;  it  was  to  Gula,  rather  than  to  Istar  or  Rubat,  that 
the  priest  of  Bel  was  told  to  pray ;  and  the  translators  of 
the  penitential  psalms  turn  the  Nana  (Innana)  of  the 
Accadian  original  into  istaritu,  "the  goddess,"  instead  of 
Istar.  But  if  questioned,  they  would  have  said  that  the 
goddess  to  whom  their  petitions  and  praises  were  addressed 
was  indeed  Istar,  and  that  Gula  and  Nana  and  Milkat 
were  but  various  names  under  which  the  same  deity  was 
adored.  The  people,  it  is  true,  may  have  regarded  the 
goddesses  of  Babylonia  as  separate  divinities,  even  as  the 
peasant  of  Spain  or  Italy  may  to-day  regard  his  local 
Virgins  as  distinct  each  one  from  the  other ;  the  educated 
Babylonian  knew  them  to  be  but  one — divers  forms  of 
the  godhead,  but  no  more.  In  fact,  he  did  not  scruple 
to  translate  by  the  common  name  of  Istar  the  several 
names  under  which  the  chief  goddess  of  Babylonia  went 
in  the  old  Accadian  hymns.  It  is  thus  that  we  read  in 
one  of  these : 

"The  light  of  heaven,  who  blazeth  like  the  fire,  art  thou, 
0  goddess  (istarituiri),  when  thou  fixest  thy  dwelling-place  in  the 

earth ; 

thou  who  art  strong  as  the  earth ! 
Thee,  the  path  of  justice  approaches  thee 
when  thou  enterest  into  the  house  of  man. 
A  hyaena,  who  springs  to  seize  the  lamb,  art  thou ! 
A  lion,  who  stalks  in  the  midst,  art  thou ! 
By  day,  0  virgin,  adorn  the  heaven ! 
O  virgin  Istar,  adorn  the  heaven  ! 

Thou  who  art  set  as  the  jewelled  circlet  of  moonstone1  adorn  the 
heaven  ! 

1  Suit,  from  the  Accadian  suha,  the  Assyrian  equivalent  of  which  was 
(aban)  yarakhu  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  40,  59).  In  the  legend  of  the  Descent  of 
Istar  (p.  227)  the  sutartum  or  "jewelled  circlet"  belongs  to  Tillili,  and 
is  composed  of  "eye-stones."  The  Suba  was  the  name  of  a  god  (ii.  58, 46), 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAK.  269 

Companion  of  the  Sun-god,  adorn  the  heaven  ! 

*To  cause  enlightenment  to  prevail1  am  I  appointed,  alone2  am  I 

By  the  side  of  my  father  the  Moon-god3  to  cause  enlightenment 

to  prevail  am  I  appointed,  alone  am  I  appointed. 
13y  the  side  of  my  brother  the  Sun-god  to  cause  enlightenment 

to  pievail  am  I  appointed,  alone  am  I  appointed. 
My  father  Nannaru  has  appointed  me ;  to  cause  enlightenment  to 

prevail  am  I  appointed. 
In  the  resplendent  heaven  to  cause  enlightenment  to  prevail  am  I 

appointed,  alone  am  I  appointed. 

In  the  beginning  was  my  glory,  in  the  beginning  was  my  glory. 
lu  the  beginning  was  I  a  goddess  (istaritum)  who  marched  on 


Istar4  the  divinity  of  the  evening  sky  am  I. 
Istar  the  divinity  of  the  dawn  am  I. 
Istar  the  opener  of  the  bolts  of  the  bright  heaven  is  my  (name  of) 


My  glory  extinguishes  the  heaven,  it  spoils  the  earth. 
The  extinguisher  of  the  heaven,  the  spoiler  of  the  earth  is  my 


That  which  glows  in  the  clouds  of  heaven,  whose  name  is  re 
nowned  in  the  world,  is  my  glory. 

As  queen5  of  heaven  above  and  below  may  my  glory  be  addressed. 
My  glory  sweeps6  away  the  mountains  altogether. 

and  of  a  river  which  was  consecrated  to  Tammuz  (ii.  50,  12).  As  the 
god  Suba  is  stated  to  be  a  form  of  the  Sun-god,  like  Ilba,  he  is  doubt 
less  to  be  identified  with  Tammuz  as  "god  of  the  Moon-stone." 

1  In  the  Accadian,  "the  gift  of  light." 

2  Gitmalu.     The  word  has  no  connection  with  gamdlu,  "  to  finish," 
and  means  "sole,"  "unique"  (as  here,  where  the  Accadian  equivalent 
signifies  "going  alone").     The  statement  in  W.A.I,  iv.  69,  76,  that 
gitmalu  is  the  Accadian  sar,  "  big,"  is  derived  from  the  secondary  sense 
of  gitmalu  as  "monstrous"  or  "gigantic." 

3  Mistranslated  in  the  Assyrian,  which  has  wrongly  construed  the 
Accadian  postpositions. 

4  In  the  original  Accadian,  "  mistress  of  the  sky." 

5  In  the  original,  "  the  unique  monster"  (iisugal). 

6  The  Assyrian  translation  misreudersi  ;  "  I  sweep  away." 

270  LECTURE   IV. 

Thou  art1  the  mighty  fortress  of  the  mountains,  thou  art  their 
mighty  bolt,  0  my  glory.' 

May  thy  heart  rest,  may  thy  liver  bo  tranquil.2 

O  lord  (Bel)  Anu  the  mighty  one,  may  thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

O  lord  (Bel),  the  mighty  mountain  Mul-lil,  may  thy  liver  bo  tran 

O  goddess  (istaritum}>  lady  of  heaven,  may  thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

0  mistress,  lady  of  heaven,  may  thy  liver  be  tranquil. 

O  mistress,  lady  of  E-Ana,  may  thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

O  mistress,  lady  of  the  land  of  Erech,  may  thy  liver  be  tranquil. 

0  mistress,  lady  of  the  land  of  the  city  of  precious  stones,3  may 
thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

O  mistress,  lady  of  the  mountain  of  mankind,4  may  thy  liver  be 

O  mistress,  lady  of  the  temple  of  the  pasturage  of  mankind,  may 
thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

0  mistress,  lady  of  Babylon,  may  thy  liver  be  tranquil. 

0  mistress,  lady  of  the  name  of  Nana,  may  thy  heart  be  at  rest. 

O  lady  of  the  temple,  lady  of  spirits,  may  thy  liver  be  tranquil. 

(COLOPHON.) — Tearful  supplication  of  the  heart  to  Istar. 

Like  its  old  copy  written  and  published.  Palace  of  Assur-bani- 
pal,  king  of  Assyria." 

But  Istar  was  not  merely  the  goddess  of  love.  By  the 
side  of  the  amorous  goddess  there  was  also  a  warlike  one. 
The  Syrian  goddess  who  migrated  westward  was  a  war- 

1  The  Assyrian  mistranslates  :  "  I  am." 

2  The  concluding  litany  probably  belongs  to  a  later  period  than  the 
rest  of  the  hymn,  to  which  it  has  been  attached,  and  is  of  the  age  when 
Erech  and  Babylon  were  the  leading  cities  of  Chaldaea. 

3  "The  city  of  Sula."     "The  river  of  Sula"  is  called  "the  river  of 
Tammuz"  or  of  Suba  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  50,  12. 

4  Kharsag-kalama,  the  name  of  a  temple  at  Kis  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  61, 15), 
or  'Sabu  (v.  12.  49,  50),  also  called  Jcapar  ri'i,  "the  village  of  the 
shepherd,"  or  kapar  garradi,  "the  village  of  the  warrior"  Taminuz  (ii. 
52.  66,  67). 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAR.  271 

rior  as  well  as  a  bride.  Among  the  Hittites  and  their 
disciples  in  Asia  Minor,  she  was  served  not  only  by  Galli, 
but  by  Amazons — warrior  priestesses — as  well.  The 
Artemis  of  Ephesos,  her  lineal  descendant,  was  separated 
by  a  wide  gulf  from  the  Aphrodite  of  Cyprus.  Both 
Artemis  and  Aphrodite  were  alike  the  offspring  of  the 
same  Babylonian  deity,  but  in  making  their  way  to  Greece 
they  had  become  separated  and  diverse.  The  goddess 
of  the  Hittites  and  of  Asia  Minor  preserved  mainly  her 
fiercer  side ;  the  goddess  of  Phoenician  Cyprus  her  gen 
tler  side.  Both  sides,  however,  had  once  been  united  in 
the  Istar  of  Chaldsea.  The  Greek  myths  which  recounted 
the  story  of  Semiramis  recorded  the  fact.  For  Semiramis 
is  but  Istar  in  another  guise.  As  Istar  was  called  "  queen" 
by  the  Assyrians,  so  is  Semiramis  the  queen  of  Assyria ; 
as  Semiramis  deserts  Menon  for  Ninos  or  Nineveh,  so 
did  Istar  desert  her  old  haunts  for  her  later  temple  at 
Nineveh.  The  dove  into  which  Semiramis  was  changed 
was  the  bird  sacred  to  Istar.  Her  passion  for  her  son 
Ninyas,  "the  Ninevite,"  whom  another  version  of  the 
myth  names  Zames  or  Samas,  is  an  echo  of  the  passion 
of  Istar,  the  Dav-kina  of  Eridu,  for  Tammuz  the  Sun- 
god.  The  warrior-queen  of  Assyria,  in  fact,  was  the 
great  Babylonian  goddess  in  her  martial  character. 

While  the  gentler-mannered  Babylonians  preferred  to 
dwell  upon  the  softer  side  of  Istar,  the  Assyrians,  as  was 
natural  in  the  case  of  a  military  nation,  saw  in  her  mainly 
the  goddess  of  war  and  battle.  Like  Babylonia,  with  its 
two  centres  of  her  worship  at  Erech  and  Accad,  Assyria 
also  had  its  two  great  sanctuaries  of  Istar  at  Nineveh  and 
Arbela.  That  she  should  have  had  no  famous  temple  in 

272  LECTURE    IV. 

Assur,1  the  old  capital  of  the  kingdom,  shows  clearly  the 
comparatively  late  development  of  her  cult.  Doubtless 
the  earliest  inhabitants  of  the  Assyrian  cities  had  brought 
with  them  the  name  and  worship  of  Istar,  but  it  could 
only  have  been  long  afterwards  that  it  attained  its  final 
celebrity.  Indeed,  we  can  trace  its  progress  through  the 
historical  inscriptions  until  it  culminates  in  the  reign  of 

There  was  a  particular  cause  for  this  gradual  develop 
ment  which  was  connected  with  the  warlike  attributes 
of  the  Assyrian  Istar.  The  Assyrians  were  an  essen 
tially  Semitic  people.  Their  supreme  goddess  accordingly 
was  that  vague  and  colourless  Bilit  ili,  "  the  mistress  of 
the  gods,"  who  sat  as  a  queenly  shadow  by  the  side  of 
Bel.  They  had  none  of  those  associations  with  the 
older  Accadian  goddesses,  with  their  specific  names  and 
functions,  which  the  natives  of  the  Babylonian  cities 
possessed ;  apart  from  Istar,  the  evening  star,  there  was 
no  goddess  among  them  who  could  claim  a  more  Inde 
pendent  position  than  that  of  a  Bilit  ili.  Assur  himself 
had  no  special  consort,  like  Zarpanit  at  Babylon  or  even 
A  at  Accad.2  Except  Istar,  therefore,  the  Assyrian  pan 
theon  was  destitute  of  a  goddess  who  could  assert  her 
equality  with  the  gods. 

But  the  name  of  Istar,  supported  as  it  was  by  the 

1  Tiglath-Pileser  I.  speaks  of  building  one  there  along  with  temples 
of  Martu  and  of  Bel-labaru,  "the  old  Bel"  (Col.  vi.  86,  87).    He  gives 
Istar  the  title  of  Assuriti,  "Assyrian,"  not  "Assurite." 

2  Tiglath-Pileser  III.  once  mentions  Seruha  apparently  as  the  con 
sort  of  Assur  (Lay.  17,  15),  but  this  is  in  connection  with  his  occupa 
tion  of  Babylonia. 


traditions,  the  sacred  teaching  and  the  literature  the 
Assyrians  had  brought  from  Babylonia,  sufficed  to  keep 
alive  a  recollection  of  the  fact  that  such  female  divinities 
had  once  been  recognised.  Accordingly,  while  Istar  on 
the  one  hand  tended  to  be  merged  into  the  vague  and 
general  Bilat  ili,  on  the  other  hand  she  absorbed  their 
attributes  into  herself.  With  the  increasing  fame  of  her 
shrines  at  Mneveh  and  Arbela,  and  the  rise  of  Nineveh 
as  the  capital  of  the  country,  the  second  process  went  on 
rapidly.  Istar,  therefore,  while  still  preserving  her  indi 
viduality,  took  upon  herself  all  the  offices  and  attributes 
of  Beltis,  the  wife  of  the  Sun-god.  The  ancient  myths 
which  had  made  her  the  bride  of  Tammuz  and  Alala, 


and  her  identification  with  A  in  Semitic   Accad,   had 
already  paved  the  way.     It  was  thus  that  the  fiercer 
aspect  of  the  Sun-god  as  a  warrior,  first  reflected  on  his 
consort,  the  Bilat  ili,  became  transferred  to  the  Assyrian 
Istar.     Istar  of  Arbela  was  primarily  a  militant  deity, 
the  bearer  of  the  bow  of  war.     If  the  Assyrians  were 
to  have  a  goddess  at  all,  a  deity  with  an  independent 
character  and  position  of  her  own,  it  was  necessary  that 
she  should  be  a  goddess  of  war.     The  earlier  kings  of 
Assyria,  Eimmon-nirari  I.,Tiglath-Pileser  I.,  Assur-natsir- 
pal  and  his  son  Shalmaneser  II.,  pay  her  but  slight  atten 
tion,  invoking  her  only  at  the  end  of  their  list  of  gods ; 
and  when  they  address  her,  it  is  as  "  the  lady  of  onset, 
the  strengthener  of  battle,"  "  the  lady  of  battle  and  war," 
"the  chief tainess  of  heaven  and  earth  who  makes  perfect 
the  face  of  the  warriors."     Even  Sargon  and  Sennacherib 
are   chary  of  their  references  to   her;   while  Tiglath- 
Pileser  III.  in  Babylonia  sacrifices  to  Nana  of  Erech 


274  LECTURE    IV. 

rather  than  to  Istar,1  and  Shalmaneser  II.  distinguishes 
between  the  military  goddess  Istar  and  Beltis  (Mn-lil), 
"the  wife  of  Bel,  the  mother  of  the  (great)  gods."  But 
with  Esar-haddon  all  is  changed  Oracles  of  encourage 
ment  and  prophecies  of  victory  pour  in  for  him  from  the 
priestesses  and  priests  of  the  temple  of  Istar  at  Arbela ; 
Istar  declares  herself  to  be  his  mistress,  "  who  will  do 
battle  with  the  enemies  before  (his)  feet."  She  promises 
to  give  his  foes  into  his  hand :  u  Fear  not,  0  Esar-had 
don,"  is  the  prophecy  delivered  through  the  mouth  of 
the  priestess  Baya,  "I  am  thy  strong  Baal,  I  devise  the 
might2  of  thy  heart:  I  am  jealous3  as  thy  mother,  for 
thou  hast  given  me  power;  the  sixty  great  gods,  my 
strong  ones,  shall  protect  thee ;  the  Moon-god  shall  be 
on  thy  right  hand,  the  Sun-god  on  thy  left."  Another 
oracle  is  even  more  explicit : 

"  I  am  Istar  of  Arbela,  O  Esar-haddon,  king  of  Assyria  ;  in  Assur,  in 
(Nineveh),  in  Calah,  in  Arbela,  long  days  and  everlasting  years  will  I 
give  to  Esar-haddon  my  king.  I  am  the  lover  of  thy  limbs,4  thy  nurse 
and  (thy  guardian)  am  I.  For  long  days  and  everlasting  years  thy 
throne  I  have  established  in  earth  arid  heaven  the  mighty.  For  my 
veil  of  gold  in  the  midst  of  heaven  I  am  jealous.  I  will  cause  the 
light  which  clings  to  it  to  shine  before  the  face  of  Esar-haddon,  king 
of  Assyria,  like  the  crown  of  my  head,  (and)  behind  his  feet.  Fear 
not,  0  king,  I  have  spoken  with  thee,  I  have  not  withheld  myself  (?) 

1  Similarly  Sennacherib   (W.  A.  I.  i.  43,  31—33)  speaks  of  "the 
Sun-god  of  Larsa,  the  Lady  of  Eub-esi  (?),  the  Lady  of  Erech  Nairn, 
the  goddess  Utsura-amatsa,  the  Lady  of  Life,  the  god  Kasdinnam,  the 
goddess  Kassitu,  and  Nergal."   Kassitu  probably  means  "  the  Kassite" 
or  Kosssean  goddess ;  in  Kasdinnam  we  may  see  an  Aramaean  form  of 
the  Biblical  Kasdim. 

2  Literally,  "  strong  beams  of  wood." 

3  AWiaridi,  akin  to  Jchardatu,  "  solicitude." 

4  "  Testicles,"  according  to  Haupt. 

TAMMUZ    AND    ISTAR.  275 

(from  thee).  (Thy)  foeman  shall  cease  to  be.  The  river,  in  despite  of 
opposition,  I  will  cause  thee  to  cross.  0  Esar-haddon,  the  faithful  son, 
son  of  Beltis,  ....  with  my  hands  do  I  make  an  end  of  thy  foes." 

Assur-bani-pal  inherited  his  father's  devotion  to  Istar, 
as  well  as  her  care  and  protection.  It  was,  however, 
upon  Istar  of  Mneveh,  "the  queen  of  Kidmur,"1  rather 
than  upon  Istar  of  Arbela,  that  his  attention  was  more  par 
ticularly  bestowed.  Nineveh  was  for  him  "the  supreme 
city  of  Istar,"  and  it  was  "  by  the  command  of  Assur  and 
Istar"  that  his  wars  were  undertaken,  and  by  their  help 
that  they  were  crowned  with  success.  When  Teumman 
of  Elam  threatened  the  empire  with  invasion,  he  went 
into  the  temple  of  the  goddess,  and,  like  Hezekiah  when 
he  received  the  letter  of  Sennacherib,  knelt  there  at  the 
feet  of  his  deity,  and  laid  before  her  the  scornful  message 
of  the  Elamite  king  The  whole  passage  in  which  Assur- 
bani-pal  describes  his  conduct  at  this  moment  of  danger 
is  a  striking  parallel  to  what  we  read  in  the  Old  Testa 
ment  concerning  the  Jewish  monarch. 

"When  Teumman,"  says  Assur-bani  pal,  "strengthened  himself  in 
Elam,  in  the  assembly  of  his  forces,  I  looked  to  Istar  who  looks  on  me. 
I  obeyed  not  the  command  of  his  rebellious  mouth,  I  surrendered  nob 
the  fugitives  (he  had  demanded).  Teumman  devised  evil,  (and)  the 
Moon-god  devised  for  him  omens  of  evil ;  in  the  month  Tammuz,  an 
eclipse  during  the  morning  watch  obscured  the  lord  of  light  and  the 
sun  was  darkened ;  and  as  he  rested,  so  too  did  I  rest  for  three  days, 
that  the  regnal  years  of  the  king  of  Elam  might  be  ended  and  his 
country  destroyed.  (Thus  did)  the  Moon-god  (give)  me  his  command, 

which  may  not  be  altered In  the  month  Ab,  the  month  of  the 

appearance  of  the  star  of  the  Bow,  the  festival  of  the  glorious  queen 
the  daughter  of  Bel  (Mul-lil),  in  order  to  worship  her,  the  great  (god 
dess),  I  stayed  in  Arbela,  the  chosen  city  of  her  heart.  Of  the  invasion 

1  Also  written  Kidimuri,  K  11,  35.  It  was  the  name  of  the  part  of 
the  palace  set  apart  for  the  royal  harem. 


276  LECTURE   IV. 

of  the  Elamite,  who  marched  godlessly,  they  reported  to  me  as  follows  : 
1  Teuminan  says  thus  and  thus  of  Istar,'  and  they  reported  the  tenor  of 
his  message  that  he  would  not  depart  until  he  had  gone  against  Assur- 
bani-pal  to  make  war.  On  account  of  this  threat  which  Teumman  had 
uttered,  I  prayed  to  the  exalted  one,  Istar  ;  I  wept  before  her,  I  bowed 
beneath  her,  I  did  honour  to  her  divinity,  (and)  she  came  with  favour 
to  me.  *  0  lady  of  Arbela,'  I  prayed, '  I  am  Assur-bani-pal,  the  creation 
of  thy  hands  (and  the  creation  of  Assur),  the  father  who  created  thee, 
that  I  might  restore  the  shrines  of  Assyria  and  complete  the  fortresses 

of  Accad I  seek  after  thy  courts,  I  go  to  worship  (thy  divinity) ; 

and  now  he,  Teumman,  king  of  Elam,  who  values  not  the  gods,  has 
come  up  to  (make  war).  Thou  art  the  lady  of  ladies,  the  terror  of 
conflict,  the  lady  of  war,  the  queen  of  the  gods, . .  .  who  in  the  presence 
of  Assur,  the  father  that  created  thee,  utterest  blessings.  In  the  .... 
he  hath  desired  me  ....  to  make  glad  the  heart  of  Assur  and  to  give 

rest  to  the  liver  of  Merodach As  for  Teumman,  king  of  Elam, 

who  has  sinned  (grievously)  against  Assur  (the  king  of  the  gods),  the 
father  that  created  thee,  and  against  Merodach  thy  brother  and  com 
panion  ....  and  (against)  me,  Assur-bani-pal,  whom  (thou  hast  desired) 
to  give  rest  to  the  heart  of  Assur  and  (Merodach),  he  has  gathered  his 
army,  has  made  ready  for  war,  has  asked  his  soldiers  to  march  to 
Assyria ;  do  thou  that  art  the  archer  of  the  gods,  strike  him  down  like 
a  weight  in  the  midst  of  the  battle,  and  smite  him  as  a  tempest  of  evil 
wind.'  My  lamentable  supplication  did  Istar  hear,  and  '  Fear  not,'  she 
said ;  she  caused  me  to  overflow  with  (joy  of)  heart :  '  For  the  lifting 
up  of  thy  hands  which  thou  hast  lifted  up,  for  thine  eyes  (that)  are 
filled  with  tears,  I  have  compassion.'  In  that  very  hour  of  the  night 
when  I  prayed  to  her,  a  certain  seer  slept,  and  he  dreams  a  prophetic  (1) 
dream.  A  revelation  during  the  night  Istar  revealed  to  him  (which) 
he  repeated  to  me  thus:  'Istar  who  dwells  in  Arbela  entered,  and 
right  and  left  was  a  quiver  uplifted.  She  held  a  bow  in  her  hand ;  she 
drew  a  heavy  falchion  to  make  war ;  her  countenance  was  wrathful. 
Like  a  fond  mother  she  speaks  with  thee,  she  cries  to  thee.  Istar,  the 
exalted  of  the  gods,  appoints  thee  this  message  :  '  Thou  entreatest  to 
gain  victory;  the  place  lies  before  thee;  I  am  coming!'  Thou  shalt 
answer  her  thus  :  To  the  place  to  which  thou  goest  with  thee  let  me 
go  !  The  lady  of  ladies  even  she  declares  to  thee  thus  :  I  will  defend 
thee  that  thou  mayest  dwell  in  the  sacred  precincts  of  Nebo : l  eat  food, 
drink  wine,  keep  festival,  glorify  my  divinity ;  when  I  have  gone,  this 

See  W.  A.  I.  ii.  29,  18.    The  library  of  Kouyunjik  seems  intended. 

TAMMUZ   AND    ISTAR.  277 

message  shall  be  accomplished.  I  will  cause  the  desire  of  thy  heart  to 
prevail ;  thy  face  shall  not  grow  pale,  thy  feet  shall  not  stumhle,  thy 
beauty  (?)  shall  not  fade.  In  the  midst  of  battle,  in  her  kindly  womb 
she  embosoms  thee  and  embraces  thee  on  every  side.  Before  her  a  fire 
is  kindled  (fiercely)  to  overcome  thy  foes."1 

Istar  is  here  represented  in  human  form,  with  a  quiver 
on  either  shoulder  and  a  bow  in  the  hand.  This,  in 
fact,  is  the  ordinary  fashion  in  which  Assyrian  art  por 
trayed  the  warlike  goddess.  But  Assyrian  art  was  not 
peculiar  in  thus  depicting  the  goddess  of  love  and  war. 
In  the  older  art  of  Babylonia,  of  which  that  of  Assyria 
was  but  a  modification,  the  deities  of  the  popular  faith 
were  all  represented  in  human  shape.  The  oldest  cylin 
ders  of  Semitic  Chaldeea  agree  in  this  respect  with  the 
bas-reliefs  of  the  palaces  of  Nineveh.  It  is  only  the 
demons  and  inferior  spirits,  or  mythical  personages  like 
Ea-bani,  the  friend  of  Gisdhubar,  who  are  portrayed  as 
animals,  or  as  composite  figures  partly  human  and  partly 
bestial.  Ea  alone,  in  his  character  of  "god  of  life,"2  is 
given  the  fish's  skin,  and  even  then  the  skin  is  but  thrown 
over  his  back  like  a  priestly  clcak.  The  composite  mon 
sters,  whose  forms  Berossos  saw  painted  on  the  walls  of 
the  temple  of  Belos,  were  the  brood  of  chaos,  not  of  the 
present  order  of  the  world.  The  legend  of  the  creation 
preserved  by  the  priests  of  Cutha  declares  that  the  crea 
tures,  half  men  and  half  birds,  which  were  depicted  in 
sacred  art,  were  suckled  by  Tiamat,  the  dragon -like 
personification  of  anarchy  and  chaos.  Their  disappear 
ance  marked  the  victory  of  light  over  darkness,  of  the 
gods  of  heaven  over  the  Titanic  monsters  of  an  extinct 

1  G.  Smith's  Assur-bani-pal,  pp.  117 — 126. 

2  On  an  early  cylinder  in  the  British  Museum. 

278  LECTURE   IV. 

age.  The  deities  of  Babylonia  were  emphatically  human ; 
human  in  character  and  human  in  form.  They  stood  in 
marked  contrast  to  the  animal-headed  gods  of  Egypt, 
and  harmonised  with  the  Semitic  belief  that  made  the 
deity  the  father  of  the  human  race,  who  had  created  man 
in  his  own  image.  Even  in  pre-Semitic  days,  Chaldeean 
art  had  already  followed  the  same  line  of  thought,  and 
had  depicted  its  divinities  in  the  likeness  of  men ;  but 
in  pre-Semitic  days  this  was  a  tendency  only;  it  was 
not  until  the  Accadian  came  in  contact  with  the  Semite 
that  he  felt  the  full  force  of  the  Semitic  conception,  and 
allowed  his  ancient  deities  of  light  and  life  to  take  per 
manently  upon  them  the  human  shape.1 

For  there  are  many  indications  that  it  had  not  always 
been  so.  The  very  fact  that  the  divine  beings  who  in 
the  Semitic  era  were  relegated  to  the  realms  of  chaos  or 
the  inferior  world  of  subordinate  spirits,  were  to  the  last 
represented  as  partly  bestial  in  form,  proves  pretty  clearly 
that  the  Babylonians  had  once  seen  nothing  derogatory 
to  the  divine  nature  in  such  a  mode  of  representation. 

1  The  fact  that  the  gods  of  Babylonia  were  represented  in  human 
form  leads  us  to  expect  to  find  also  the  converse  fact,  the  apotheosis  of 
men.  Our  expectation  is  fulfilled,  at  any  rate  as  regards  the  earlier 
period  of  Semitic  Babylonia.  A  haematite  cylinder,  found  by  Gen.  di 
Cesnola  in  Cyprus,  gives  Naram-Sin,  the  son  of  Sargon,  the  invader  of 
the  island,  the  title  of  god,  and  on  the  bricks  of  Amar-Agu  or  Buru-Sin 
of  Ur  (W.  A.  I.  i.  5,  xix.)  the  divine  title  is  prefixed  to  the  royal  name. 
It  is  significant  that  this  deification  of  the  monarch  is  coeval  with  the 
rise  of  Semitic  supremacy,  and  that  it  never  took  firm  hold  of  the  reli 
gious  faith  of  the  people.  At  all  events,  there  is  no  trace  of  it  from 
the  time  of  Kharninuragas  downwards.  It  is  true  that  the  Kassite 
sovereign  Agu-kak-rime  (cir.  B.C.  1630)  claims  to  be  descended  from 
the  god  Sugamuna  (W.  A.  I.  v.  33.  i.  4);  but  Agu-kak-rime  was  neither 
a  Semite  nor  a  Sumerian,  and  to  claim  descent  from  a  god  is  not  the 
same  as  claiming  to  be  a  god  oneself. 


The  winged  bulls  who  guarded  the  approach  to  the 
temple  and  protected  it  from  the  invasion  of  evil  spirits, 
or  the  eagle-headed  cherubs  who  knelt  on  either  side  of 
the  sacred  tree,  were  survivals  of  a  time  when  "  the  great 
gods  of  heaven  and  earth"  were  themselves  imaged  and 
adored  in  similar  form.  The  same  evidence  is  borne  by 
the  animals  on  whose  backs  the  anthropomorphic  deities 
are  depicted  as  standing  in  later  art.  When  the  gods 
had  become  human,  there  was  no  other  place  left  for  the 
animals  with  whom  they  had  once  been  so  intimately 
connected.  The  evidence,  however,  is  not  borne  by  art 
alone.  The  written  texts  aver  that  the  gods  were  sym 
bolised  by  animals,  like  the  Sun-god  of  Kis,  whose 
" image"  or  symbol  was  the  eagle.  It  is  these  symbols 
which  appear  on  the  Babylonian  boundary-stones,  where 
in  the  infancy  of  Assyrian  research  they  were  supposed 
to  represent  the  Zodiacal  signs. 

That  they  were  originally  something  more  than  mere 
symbols  is  expressly  indicated  in  the  myths  about  the 
goddess  of  love.  Gisdhubar  taunts  her  with  her  treat 
ment,  not  only  of  Alala,  the  eagle,  but  also  of  the  horse 
and  the  lion,  whose  names  are  not  given  to  us.  Here,  at 
any  rate,  popular  tradition  has  preserved  a  recollection  of 
the  time  when  the  gods  of  Babylonia  were  still  regarded 
as  eagles  and  horses  and  lions.  We  are  taken  back  to 
an  epoch  of  totemism,  when  the  tribes  and  cities  of 
Chaldsea  had  each  its  totem,  or  sacred  animal,  to  whom 
it  offered  divine  worship,  and  who  eventually  became  its 
creator-god.  Not  less  clear  is  the  legend  of  the  first 
introduction  of  culture  into  the  valley  of  the  Euphrates. 
Cannes,  or  Ea,  it  was  ever  remembered,  had  the  body  of 
a  fish,  and,  like  a  fish,  he  sank  each  night  into  the  waters 

280  LECTURE    IV. 

of  the  Persian  Gulf  when  the  day  was  closed  which  he 
had  spent  among  his  favoured  disciples  of  Eridu.  The 
culture-god  himself  had  once  been  a  totem,  from  which 
we  may  infer  how  long  it  was  before  totemism  disap 
peared,  at  all  events  from  southern  Babylonia,  where 
the  contact  with  Semitic  thought  was  less  strong  and 
abiding  than  was  the  case  further  north. 

"We  can  learn  a  good  deal  about  this  totemism  from  the 
old  ideographic  representations  of  the  names  of  the  chief 
deities.  They  are  like  fossils,  embodying  the  beliefs  of 
a  period  which  had  long  passed  away  at  the  date  of  the 
earliest  monuments  that  have  come  down  to  us.  The 
name  of  Ea  himself  affords  us  an  example  of  what  we 
may  find.  It  is  sometimes  expressed  by  an  ideograph 
which  signifies  literally  "  an  antelope"  (dam  in  Accadian, 
turaJchu  in  Assyrian,  whence  perhaps  the  Biblical  name 
of  Terah).1  Thus  we  are  told  that  Ea  was  called  "the 
antelope  of  the  deep,"  "the  antelope  the  creator,"  "the 
antelope  the  prince,"  "the  lusty  antelope;"2  and  the 
"ship"  or  ark  of  Ea  in  which  his  image  was  carried  at 
festivals  was  entitled  "the  ship  of  the  divine  antelope  of 
the  deep."  3  We  should,  indeed,  have  expected  that  the 
animal  of  Ea  would  have  been  the  fish  rather  than  the 
antelope,  and  the  fact  that  it  is  not  so  points  to  the  con 
clusion  that  the  culture-god  of  southern  Babylonia  was 
an  amalgamation  of  two  earlier  deities,  one  the  divine 

1  Turakhu  is  the  Arabic  arkhu,  "  an  antelope,"  and  is  a  tiphel  form 
ation  from  the  Assyrian  verb  ardkhu,  "  to  run  quickly."     The  word 
has  no  connection  with  the  Accadian  dam.     Friedrich  Delitzsch  long 
ago  suggested  that  it  represented  the  Biblical  Terah  (Assyrische  Studien, 
i.  p.  51). 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  55,  27—30,  8  W.  A.  I.  ii.  02,  39. 


antelope,  and  the  other  the  divine  fish.  Perhaps  it  was 
originally  as  the  god  of  the  river  that  Ea  had  been  adored 
under  the  form  of  the  wild  beast  of  the  Eden  or  desert. 

There  was  yet  another  animal  with  which  the  name  of 
Ea  had  been  associated.  This  was  the  serpent.  The 
Euphrates  in  its  southern  course  bore  names  in  the  early 
inscriptions  which  distinctly  connect  the  serpent  with  Ea 
on  the  one  hand,  and  the  goddess  Innina  on  the  other. 
It  was  not  only  called  "the  river  of  the  great  deep" — 
a  term  which  implied  that  it  was  a  prolongation  of  the 
Persian  Gulf  and  the  encircling  ocean;  it  was  further 
named  the  river  of  the  sulur  Ulli,  "  the  shepherd's  hut 
of  the  lillu"  or  "spirit,"  "the  river  of  Innina,"  "the 
river  of  the  snake,"  and  "the  river  of  the  girdle  of  the 
great  god."1  In-nina  is  but  another  form  of  Innana  or 
Nana,  and  we  may  see  in  her  at  once  the  Istar  of  Eridu 
and  the  female  correlative  of  Aniina.  Among  the  chief 
deities  reverenced  by  the  rulers  of  Tel-loh  was  one  whose 
name  is  expressed  by  the  ideographs  of  "fish"  and  "en 
closure,"  which  served  in  later  days  to  denote  the  name 
of  Nina  or  Nineveh.  It  seems  clear,  therefore,  that  the 
pronunciation  of  Nina  was  attached  to  it ;  and  Dr.  Oppert 
may  accordingly  be  right  in  thus  reading  the  name  of 
the  goddess  as  she  appears  on  the  monuments  of  Tel-loh. 
Nina,  consequently,  is  both  the  fish -goddess  and  the 
divinity  whose  name  is  interchanged  with  that  of  the 
snake.2  Now  Nina  was  the  daughter  of  Ea,  her  eldest 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  45—49. 

2  In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  1.  33,  38,  In-nana  is  mentioned  along  with  Nina, 
but,  as  Hommel  has  already  pointed  out  (VorsemitischeKulturen^.  360), 
this  magical  text  includes  older  and  newer  elements,  the  mention  of 
In-nana  belonging  to  the  later  portion  of  the  text. 

282  LECTURE    IV. 

daughter  being  described  in  a  text  of  Tel-loh  as  "  the  lady 
of  the  city  of  Mar,"  the  modern  Tel  Id,  according  to 
Hommel,  where  Dungi  built  her  a  temple  which  he  called 
"  the  house  of  the  jewelled  circlet"  (sutartu).  This  latter 
epithet  recalls  to  us  the  Tillili  of  the  Tammuz  legend  as 
well  as  the  Istar  of  later  Babylonia.  In  fact,  it  is  pretty 
clear  that  Nina,  "  the  lady,"  must  have  been  that  primi 
tive  Istar  of  Eridu  and  its  neighbourhood  who  mourned 
like  Tillili  the  death  of  Tammuz,  and  whose  title  was 
but  a  dialectic  variation  of  that  of  iNana  given  to  her  at 

After  this,  it  is  not  difficult  to  disentangle  the  primitive 
relation  that  existed  between  the  totems  of  the  antelope, 
the  fish  and  the  serpent,  at  Eridu.  Ea  was  the  antelope 
as  god  of  the  river ;  as  god  of  the  deep  he  was  Cannes 
the  fish.  His  daughter  was  denoted  by  a  compound 
ideograph  which  represented  her  birth  from  the  residence 
of  the  fish-god,  though  she  was  herself  one  of  the  poisonous 
reptiles  that  swarmed  in  the  marshes  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Euphrates.  It  was  in  this  way  that  the  serpent  became 
connected  with  the  god  of  wisdom,  "more  subtil  than 
any  beast  of  the  field"  which  had  been  created  in  the 
land  of  Edina. 

It  is  now  possible  to  explain  the  allusions  in  an  old 
Accadian  poem,  in  which  Merodach  (?)  is  made  to  describe 
his  weapon  of  war.  After  comparing  it  with  "the  fish 
of  seven  fins,"  he  goes  on  to  say:  "The  tempest  (mdtu) 
of  battle,  my  weapon  of  fifty  heads  (I  bear),  which  like 
the  great  serpent  of  seven  heads  is  yoked  with  seven 
heads,  which  like  the  strong  serpent  of  the  sea  (sweeps 
away)  the  foe."1  Here  the  serpent  is  regarded  as  essen- 

1  W.A.I,  ii.  19,  11—18. 



tially  a  serpent  of  the  sea,  and  in  its  seven  heads  we  may 
see  the  primitive  conception  of  its  divine  power.  The 
"  evil  spirits "  were  seven  in  number  also,  like  the  spirits 
of  the  earth ,  and  the  mythical  fish  which  may  be  the 
totem  of  the  fish-god  is  provided  with  seven  fins.1  The 
destructive  character  of  the  great  serpent  is  naturally 
insisted  on.  Doubtless  the  serpent-god  of  the  primitive 
Sumerian  was  morally  of  a  negative  nature,  or  else 
regarded  as  injuring  only  his  enemies,  while  he  did  good 
to  those  who  propitiated  him.  But  this  early  serpent- 
worship  faded  away  with  the  transformation  of  the  totem 
into  an  anthropomorphic  deity.  The  goddess  Nina  ceased 
to  retain  her  serpentile  attributes,  and  after  the  era  of 
the  monuments  of  Tel-loh  passed  almost  entirely  out  of 
memory ;  while  the  serpent  became,  what  indeed  he 
always  seems  to  have  been  in  genuine  Semitic  belief,  the 
incarnation  of  wickedness  and  guile.  We  read  in  the 
bilingual  lists  of  "the  evil  serpent,"  "the  serpent  of 
darkness ;"  2  and  it  is  probable  that  the  imagination  of  a 
later  time  confounded  this  serpent  of  darkness  with  the 
dragon  Tiamat,  the  leader  of  the  powers  of  night  and 
chaos.  It  was  a  curious  process  of  development  which 
eventually  transformed  the  old  serpent -goddess,  "the 
lady  Nina/'  into  the  embodiment  of  all  that  was  hostile 
to  the  powers  of  heaven ;  but,  after  all,  Nina  had  sprung 
from  the  fish-god  of  the  deep,  and  Tiamat  is  herself  "  the 
deep"  in  a  Semitic  dress. 

At  times  Ea  was  regarded  as  a  gazelle3  rather  than 

1  W.A.I.  ii.  19,65. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  24.  10,  12.     The  "evil  serpent"  is  called  "the  mon 
strous  (russu)  serpent  of  the  sea"  in  W.  A.  I.  ii.  19,  17. 

3  Elim  in  Accadian,  d-itanu  in  Assyrian  (W.A.I,  ii.  6,  7;  59,  5 ; 


as  an  antelope.  It  was  thus  that  he  was  entitled  "the 
princely  gazelle,"  "the  lusty  gazelle,"  " the  gazelle  who 
gives  the  earth"  (W.A.I,  ii.  55.  31—33) ;  and  Merodach 
as  his  son  is  termed  Asari-elim,  "the  mighty  one  of  the 
gazelle-god."  A  hymn  which  celebrates  Merodach  under 
a  number  of  his  archaic  names,  declares  that  he  is  "Asari- 
elim,  the  mighty  prince,  the  light  (of  the  gods),  the 
director  of  the  laws  of  Anu,  Bel  (Mul-lil)  (and  Ea)."1 
The  gazelle,  however,  was  more  correctly  appropriated  to 
Mul-lil  of  Mpur,  who  was  specially  called  "the  gazelle- 
god."2  We  may  infer,  accordingly,  that  the  gazelle  had 
once  been  the  totem  of  Nipur,  and  the  representative  of 
its  god  of  the  under- world.  It  was,  indeed,  a  peculiarly 
sacred  animal.  We  find  it  repeatedly  on  the  early  Chal- 
dsean  cylinders,  sometimes  being  offered  in  sacrifice  to  a 
deity,  sometimes  simply  standing  at  his  side  as  a  symbol. 
It  frequently  takes  the  place  of  the  goat,  which  was  also 
sacred,  and  as  such  was  exalted  into  the  Zodiacal  sign  of 
Capricornus.  Since  Tebet,  the  tenth  month,  corresponds 
to  the  sign  of  Capricornus  and  was  dedicated  to  Pap-sukal, 
it  is  possible  that  Pap-sukal,  "  the  messenger  of  the  gods," 
was  himself  the  goat-god.  At  any  rate,  there  was  a 
deity  called  Uz,3  the  Accadian  word  for  a  goat ;  and  a 

iv.  70,  55).  The  position  of  the  name  in  the  list  of  animals  (W.  A.  I. 
ii.  6,  7),  shows  what  species  of  animal  must  be  meant.  Lulim,  "  a  stag," 
seems  to  be  a  re-duplicated  form  of  the  same  word.  Both  lulim  and 
elim  are  said  to  be  equivalent  to  sarru,  "  king." 

1  K  2854,  5.  6.    In  line  10,  Merodach  is  apparently  identified  with 
the  god  Tutu,  of  whom  it  is  said  that  "  he  confronts  their  life"  (BA-AN-TB 
ana  napisti-sunu).     In  the  first  line  he  is  called  Asari,  saUs  zalmat 
kakkadi,  "  nourisher  (?)  of  the  black-headed  race."     Comp.  W.  A.  I.  ii. 
55,  69. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  70,  55 ;  ii.  59,  5. 

3  In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  34,  the  archaic  Babylonian  form  of  the  character 


curious  piece  of  sculpture  on  a  stone  tablet  found  by 
Mr.  Eassam  in  the  temple  of  the  Sun-god  at  Sippara 
describes  "  Sin,  Samas  and  Istar,"  as  being  "  set  as  com 
panions  at  the  approach  to  the  deep  in  sight  of  the  god 
Uz."1  The  "  crown  of  the  Sun-god"  is  further  said  to 
be  the  HZ,  or  "  glory,"  of  the  eyes,  with  a  play  upon  the 
resemblance  of  the  Semitic  word  uzzu,  "  glory,"  to  the 
Accadian  uz,  "a  goat."  The  god  Uz  himself  is  depicted 
as  sitting  on  a  throne,  watching  the  revolution  of  the 
solar  disk,  which  is  placed  upon  a  table  and  slowly  turned 
by  means  of  a  rope.  He  holds  in  his  hand  a  ring  and 
bolt,  and  is  clad  in  a  robe  of  goats'  skin,  the  sacred  dress 
of  the  Babylonian  priests.  It  reminds  us  of  "the  skins 
of  the  kids  of  the  goats"  which  Eebekah  put  upon  Isaac 
in  order  that  he  might  receive  his  father's  blessing.  The 
milk  of  the  goat  appears  in  the  liturgical  texts  along  with 
other  offerings  to  the  gods ;  thus  we  read  in  a  hymn : 2 

"  The  milk  of  a  light-coloured3  goat  which  in  a  pure  feeding-place 
the  shepherd  of  Tammuz4  has  reared, 

Uz  is  glossed  by  Utuki,  "  the  (great)  spirit,"  and  explained  to  be  synony 
mous  with  the  Sun-god.  As  the  document  or  documents  upon  which 
this  tablet  is  a  commentary  seem  to  have  been  a  product  of  the  court 
of  Sargon  at  Accad,  we  may  infer  that  Uz,  "  the  goat,"  was  a  title  of  the 
Sun-god  of  Sippara.  The  mythical  "goat  with  six  heads"  is  referred 
to  in  a  bilingual  text  (W.  A.  I.  iv.  30,  11). 

1  W.  A.  I.  v.  60.     Timi  here  means  "companions,"  from  emu,  "to 
make  like."     The  common  word  birit  has  nothing  to  do  with  either 
birit,  "  chain,"  or  birtu,  "  a  citadel,"  but  is  from  baru,  "  to  see." 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  28,  3. 

3  Asundu,  Accadian  6ig-&ga,  "  the  long-horned,"  rendered  banu,  01 
"light-coloured,"  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  24,  11 ;  ii.  6,  32.     The  species  of  goat 
was  called  zur  (Semitised  into  surru)  in  Accadian  (W.A.I,  ii.  2.  284, 
285,  compared  with  21.  41). 

4  Not  "  the  shepherd  Tammuz,"  which  would  require  the  converse 
order  of  words. 

236  LECTURE   IV. 

the  milk  of  the  goat  let  the  shepherd  give  thee  with  his  pure  hands 
Mingle  (it)  in  the  middle  of  the  skin  of  a  suckling1  yet  unborn. 
Let  the  god  Azaga-siiga,2  the  supreme  goat  of  Mul-lil,  with  his 

pure  hands  cause  (it)  to  be  eaten. 
Merodach  the  son  of  Eridu  has  given  the  charm ; 
0  Nin-akha-kiida,3  lady  of  the  purely-gleaming  water,  make  the 

worshipper  pure  and  bright !" 

Here  the  divine  goat  is  associated  with  Mul-lil,  and 
perhaps  we  may  therefore  conclude  that  it  was  specially 
adored  at  Nipur.  The  inference  is  not  certain,  however, 

1  Uniki,  Accadian  QAR-US,  in  a  liturgical  fragment  (S  712,  5)  we 
read  of  "  the  wool  (or  hair)  of  a  QAR-US  yet  unborn ;"  and  in  S  2073, 
R  9,  mention  is  made  of  "the  flesh  of  the  QAR." 

2  "  The  god  of  far-reaching  purity  "  or  perhaps  "  the  distant  gleam  "  (?). 
'Suga,  however,  may  represent  diga,  "  the  horned  one."     In  W.  A.  I. 
ii.  4,  662, 6igga  is  written  s'iqqa,  and  in  6,  5,  seqa,  and  rendered  by  the 
Assyrian  atudu,  "he-goat."     In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  12 — 14,  Azaga-suga 
(sud),  the  wife  of  Rimmon,  is  called  the  milch-kid  of  Mul-lil,  and  the 
names  of  its  two  shepherds  are  given  in  lines  36,  37. 

3  Nin-akha-kiida  is  invoked  in  other  magic  formulae  :  so  in  W.  A.  I. 
iv.  15,  39,  it  is  said  of  the  sick  man,  "May  Nin-akha-kudda  seize  upon 
his  body  and  rest  upon  his  head !"  and  in  Haupt's  KeUschrifttexte,  ii.  26, 
she  is  mentioned  along  with  Bahu  and  Gula.    In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  58.  48,  49, 
we  read  of  "  the  pure  water  of  Ea,  the  purely-gleaming  water  of  Nin- 
akha-kudda,  the  water  of  the  pure  hand,  of  the  pure  deep,"  where  the 
goddess  is  associated  with  Ea  and  the  deep;  and  in  D.T.  57.  Obv.  14 — 16, 
we  have  "  the  spell  of  Ea  and  Merodach,  the  spell  of  Damu  and  Gula, 
the  spell  of  Nin-akha-kudda."    Similarly  in  1266.  12,  13,  an  invocation 
is  addressed  to  "  Nin-akha-kuddu,  Nin-kurra,  [En-nu-]gi  the  son  of 
Nin-si-nagar-bu,  and  Nin-zadim."     In  K4195,  12,  Nin-akha-kuddu  is 
identified  with  Iskhara  or  Istar.     In  M  192,  4  sq.,  "the  daily  food"  is 
enumerated  of  Mul-lil,  Ea  "  the  king  of  the  deep,"  "  the  divine  king  of 
the  gods  and  the  queen  (of  the  gods),"  Samas  "  the  lord  of  crowns,  the 
decider  of  (destiny),"  "the  god  who  prospers  all  above  and  below," 
Merodach,  Adar  "the  first-born  of  Mul-lil,"  Nin-akha-kuddu,    Nin- 
karratim  and  Istar.     Nin-akha-kudda  means  "  the  lady  who  divides  the 
rising  (fresh)  water"  as  appears  from  the  statement  in  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  40, 
that  she  was  "  the  lady  of  the  rising  waters  (a-khad)  of  Ea."     The  fol 
lowing  line  shows  that  Agubba,  "  the  purely-gleaming  water"  (sunqu  in 
Assyrian),  was  also  deified. 


as  the  text  belongs  to  that  later  period  when  the  cities 
and  deities  of  Babylonia  hud  been  brought  into  union 
with  one  another. 

I  have  already  alluded  to  the  fact  that  the  Sun-god  of 
Nipur  was  connected  with  the  pig.  Adar  was  "  lord  of 
the  swine, "  and  the  swine  would  therefore  seem  to  have 
once  been  a  totem  of  the  city  in  which  he  was  worshipped. 
Nothing  could  show  more  clearly  that  Babylonian  tote- 
mism  belongs  to  the  pre-Semitic  history  of  the  country, 
and  the  conclusion  is  supported  by  the  large  place 
occupied  by  the  dog  in  what  I  may  call  the  zoological 
mythology  of  Chaldsea.  In  Semitic  times  the  dog  was 
as  distasteful  to  the  Babylonians  as  he  was,  and  is,  to 
the  Semitic  inhabitants  of  other  parts  of  the  world.  We 
have  a  proof  of  this  in  a  prayer  against  the  powers  of 
evil,  in  which  we  read : 

"  (From)  the  baleful  fetter,  the  fetter  which  injures  the  feet ....  the 
dog,  the  snake,  the  scorpion,  the  reptile,  and  whatsoever  is  baleful,  the 
possession  of  the  heart,  the  possession  (of  the  body,  may  Merodach 
preserve  us)."1 

The  dog  is  avoided  by  the  earlier  art  of  Assyria ;  and 
even  in  Babylonia,  where  a  particular  and  much-esteemed 
breed  existed,  almost  the  only  representation  of  the  animal 
that  is  known  is  on  a  terra-cotta  plaque  of  the  Sassanian 
period.2  Nevertheless,  there  was  a  time  when  the  Baby- 

1  K  (unnumbered),  19 — 21,  buanu  Hmnu  buanu  naptsu  sa  sepa  .... 
UR-KU  tsir  GIRTAB  nammas(tuv)  u  nin  limnu  tsibit  libbi  taibit  (zumri). 

2  See  the  illustration  of  a  "  Terra-cotta  Tablet  from  Babylon,  repre 
senting  an  Indian  dog,"  in  Layard's  Nineveh  and  Babylon,  p.  527.     In. 
Assyria,  it  is  not  until  we  come  to  the  time  of  Assur-bani-pal  that  we 
find  the  dog  represented  in  the  bas-reliefs.    The  five  clay  figures  of  dogs, 
with  their  names  inscribed  upon  them,  now  in  the  British  Museum, 
belong  to  the  same  monarch.     The  names  are  (1)  Epar  tallik  epus 
nabakha,  "  He  ran  and  barked ;"  (2)  Musetsu  limnuti,  "  the  producer 

288  LECTURE    IV. 

Ionian  dog  was  otherwise  regarded.  Merodach  and  the 
dog  were  brought  into  connection  with  one  another. 
The  beneficent  god  of  later  Babylonian  religion  owned 
four  divine  hounds,  named  Ukkumu,  "  the  seizer,"  Akkulu, 
"the  devourer,"  Iksuda,  "the  capturer,"  and  Iltebu, 
"  the  pursuer."1  We  may  suspect  that  the  dogs  were  not 
always  sent  on  errands  of  mercy,  and  that  originally  they 
had  been  devastating  winds  who  followed  in  the  track  of 
a  death-dealing  god.  An  incantation  begins  with  the 
words :  "  0  Merodach,  the  lord  of  death,  thy  hand  esta 
blishes  the  house  of  light,"2  where  perhaps  we  have  a 
tradition  of  the  age  when  Merodach  was  not  as  yet  the 
god  who  raises  the  dead  to  life,  but  the  god  of  death 
only.  At  all  events,  the  hounds  appear  in  no  favourable 
character  in  the  fragment  of  a  legend  which  related  to 
the  shepherd  Matsarat-pi-baladhi  (?).3  After  a  reference 
to  Eimmon,  the  shepherd's  heart  is  told  to  rejoice  because 
of  the  message  sent  him  by  Ea  through  the  lips  of  Mero 
dach.  "(Ea)  has  heard  thee,"  it  is  said  to  him;  "when 
the  great  dogs"  assault  thee,  then  "  Matsarat-pi-baladhi, 
shepherd  of  the  flock,  seize  them  from  behind  and  lay 
them  down.  Hold  them  and  overcome  them.  Strike 
their  head,  pierce  (nihi)  their  breast.  An  expedition 
they  are  gone ;  never  may  they  return  !  "With  the  wind 

of  mischief;"  (3)  Dayan  rits-su,  "the  judge  of  his  companions;"  (4) 
Munasiku  gari-su,  "  the  biter  of  his  foes ;"  (5)  Kasid  abi,  "  the  seizer  of 
enemies."  See  Houghton  on  "  The  Mammalia  of  the  Assyrian  Sculp 
tures"  in  the  Irans.  Soc.  Bib.  Arch.  v.  1. 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  22—25.     Iltebu  may  be  derived  from  lahbu,  "  to 
be  violent." 

2  R2.  11.  153.  Rev.  7,8. 

3  K  2546.     The  name  is  written  ENNUX-KA-TI,  "watch  of  the  mouth 
of  life." 


may  they  go,  with  the  storm  above  it !  Take  their  road 
and  cut  off  their  going.  Seize  their  mouth,  seize  their 
mouth,  seize  their  weapons  !  Seize  their  teeth  (sut\  and 
make  them  ascend,  by  the  command  of  Ea,  the  lord  of 
wisdom ;  by  the  command  of  the  Sun-god,  the  lord  of  all 
that  is  above ;  by  the  command  of  Merodach,  the  lord  of 
revelation"  (bar-bar-ti).  The  recitation  of  this  curious 
legend  formed  part  of  a  religious  ceremony,  and  was 
ordered  to  be  followed  by  the  triple  repetition  of  a  prayer 
"before  the  god  Azag-suga."  This  god,  as  we  have 
seen,  was  primarily  a  goat,  and  it  was  no  doubt  on  this 
account  that  a  portion  of  an  old  poem  about  a  shepherd 
who  had  driven  away  the  dogs  from  his  flock  was  intro 
duced  into  the  service.  The  poem,  however,  like  the 
service,  transports  us  to  Semitic  days;  the  dog  has 
become  a  hateful  creature,  and  what  divinity  he  has  is 
of  a  demoniac  character. 

Unlike  the  dog,  the  ox  remained  in  honour  among  the 
Babylonians,  and  the  mythologists  accordingly  did  not 
wholly  forget  that  one  at  least  of  "the  great  gods"  had 
once  been  identified  with  this  animal.  An  early  geogra 
phical  list  calls  Dapara,  "  the  mountain  of  the  Bull-god," 
the  country  of  crystal  j1  and  that  this  was  to  be  sought 
in  southern  Babylonia  is  indicated  by  the  name  of  the 
Uknu,  the  river  of  "crystal."  There  is  some  evidence 
that  the  primitive  Bull-god  was  Merodach  himself.  Ea 
and  his  wife  had  each  two  divine  "bulls"  attached  to 
them,  those  of  Ea  being  named  "the  god  of  the  field  of 
Eden"  and  "the  god  of  the  house  of  Eden."2  These 
bull-gods  must  be  distinguished  from  the  colossal  figures, 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  13,  a  W.  A.  I.  ii.  56,  59—62. 

290  LECTURE    IV. 

the  winged  bulls,  that  guarded  the  entrance  to  a  temple.* 
"We  may  speak  of  the  latter  as  "  Assyrian  bulls,"  but 
such  was  never  their  name  among  either  Babylonians  or 
Assyrians.  To  them  they  represented  divine  beings,  the 
gods  or  genii  of  the  household,  in  fact,  but  not  bulls.  The 
face  was  wanting  which  was  needed  to  transform  the 
colossus  into  an  image  of  the  animal.  The  human  head 
showed  that  the  creature  was  endowed  with  humanity 
as  much  as  Ea-bani,  the  friend  of  Gisdhubar,  whose 
body  terminated  in  the  legs  of  a  goat,  but  who  was 
nevertheless  in  all  respects  a  man.  The  bull-like  body 
of  the  divine  guardians  of  the  household  symbolised 
strength,  at  all  events  to  the  Semitic  Babylonian,  who 
persistently  paraphrased  the  Accadian  word  for  "bull," 
when  used  as  a  proper  name,  by  words  that  denoted 
"hero"  and  "strong  one."  The  winged  bulls  and  the 
divine  bulls  of  Eridu  were  not  one  and  the  same,  however 
much  the  imagination  of  a  later  day  may  have  tended  to 
confound  them  together. 

The  fact  that  the  two  great  deities  of  Eridu  were  thus 
attended  by  a  body-guard  of  divine  bulls,  makes  us  in 
clined  to  connect  the  Bull-god  of  Dapara  very  closely 
indeed  with  the  city  of  Eridu.  "We  need  not  be  astonished, 
therefore,  at  finding  Merodach  entitled  in  early  astrono 
mical  literature  Gudi-bir,  "  the  bull  of  light."  The  sky, 
as  we  have  seen,  was  regarded  as  a  second  Babylonian 
plain,  over  which  the  sun  ploughed  his  way  along  the 
ecliptic  or  "  furrow  of  heaven."  The  pole-star  was  called 

1  In  Accadian,  alad  and  lamma;  in  Assyrian,  sedu,  buhidu  and 
lamassu.  The  last  word  seems  to  have  been  borrowed  from  the  Acca 
dian  lamma  in  its  primitive  form  (lamas).  Alad  is  "  the  spirit,"  from 
ala,  with  the  suffix  d(d). 


its  "yoke,"1  and  Jupiter,  the  nearest  of  the  planets  to 
the  ecliptic,  was  known  as  Lubat-Gudibir,  "the  wether" 
or  "  planet  of  the  Bull  of  Light."  The  Bull  of  Light, 
therefore,  was  himself  the  ploughman  of  the  celestial 
fields,  the  Sun-god  who  trod  his  steady  path  through  the 
heavenly  signs,  like  the  patient  ox  who  dragged  the  plough 
through  the  fields  below.  It  was  as  the  Sun-god,  moving 
through  the  twelve  Zodiacal  signs  of  the  year,  that  Mero- 
dach,  it  is  asserted,  was  known  by  this  particular  name. 
Now  the  explanation  of  the  name  of  Gudibir  as  Mero- 
dach,  the  Sun-god,  comes  from  a  tablet  which  seems  to 
have  been  a  philological  commentary  on  the  astronomical 
works  compiled  for  the  court  of  Sargon  of  Accad.  We 
know  that  Sargon' s  patronage  of  science  produced  the 
great  standard  Babylonian  work  on  astronomy  and  astro 
logy,  in  seventy-two  books,  which  went  under  the  name 
of  the  "  Observations  of  Bel."  It  was  translated  into 
Greek  by  the  Chaldsean  historian  Berossos,  and  large 
portions  of  it,  including  a  table  of  contents,  are  among 
the  tablets  found  on  the  site  of  the  library  of  Xouyunjik. 
In  the  course  of  centuries  it  had  undergone  a  large 
amount  of  interpolation  and  addition;  marginal  glosses 
had  crept  into  the  text,  and  new  paragraphs  had  been 
inserted  recording  the  observations  that  had  been  made 

1  Or  rather,  perhaps,  the  constellation  of  Draco  generally,  a  Dra- 
conis  "being  at  the  time  the  pole-star.  The  star  (or  constellation)  was 
called  MU-BU-KHIR-DA  in  Accadian,  which  the  Semitic  astronomers 
paraphrased  by  "the  star  of  Ann,  the  arbiter  (mamit)  of  heaven" 
(W.A.I,  ii.  47,  16),  and  more  literally  "the  yoke  of  heaven"  (v.  18, 
24).  The  Accadian  (or  rather  Sumerian)  is  probably  to  be  read  gu&ir 
kesda,  "  yoke  of  the  enclosure."  Gisra  and  gisrara,  gitisa.  gissilla  and 
gunirra^  are  given  as  dialectical  forms  of  the  Accadian  word  for  "  yoke  " 
(W.A.I,  v.  18.  17,  19,  20,  21;  15,  28). 


292  LECTURE   IV. 

by  the  astronomers  and  astrologers  of  Babylonia  during 
the  whole  length  of  the  historical  period.  In  the  form, 
therefore,  in  which  it  was  edited  for  the  library  of 
Nineveh,  it  was  very  different  from  the  original  work 
that  had  been  composed  by  the  orders  of  Sargon.  Old 
and  new  matter  had  been  mixed  up  in  it,  and  the  enlarge 
ments  introduced  into  it  had  probably  nearly  doubled  its 
original  size.  But  the  original  work  was  itself  a  com 
pilation  of  records  and  observations  that  had  been  made 
during  an  untold  number  of  previous  years.  These 
records  and  observations  had  for  the  most  part  been 
written  in  Accadian ;  the  result  being  that,  although  the 
astronomy  of  the  Chaldeeans,  as  we  know  it,  is  purely 
Semitic  in  form  and  character,  many  of  its  technical 
terms  are  non- Semitic,  as  well  as  the  names  of  the  celestial 
bodies.  Hence  it  is  that  we  find  a  remarkable  inconsis 
tency  between  certain  facts  reported  by  the  astronomical 
tablets  and  the  astronomical  system  which  they  set  before 
us.  This  astronomical  system  is  based  upon  the  assump 
tion  that  the  sun  enters  the  first  point  of  the  constellation 
Aries  at  the  time  of  the  vernal  equinox.  The  system 
must  therefore  have  come  into  existence  later  than  the 
26th  century  before  the  Christian  era,  when  Aries  first 
became  the  starting-point  of  the  Zodiacal  signs.  But 
the  signs  themselves  were  named,  and  the  path  of  the 
sun  through  them  was  mapped  out,  when  the  vernal 
equinox  still  coincided  with  the  sun's  entrance,  not  into 
Aries,  but  into  Taurus.  The  whole  pre-Semitic  nomen 
clature  of  the  Zodiacal  signs,  and  the  months  of  the  year 
that  correspond  to  them,  rests  on  the  supposition  that  the 
Zodiacal  bull  ushers  in  the  vernal  year.  Its  Accadian 
name  was  "the  directing  Bull,"  the  bull  that  directs 


the  course  of  the  year ;  and  the  sign  which  faced  it,  the 
Scorpion  of  a  later  age,  was  correspondingly  termed  the 
star  "that  is  opposite  to  the  foundation"  of  the  year. 

"We  can  now  understand  why  the  Sun-god  Merodach, 
whom  even  the  astronomers  of  the  historical  period  con 
tinued  to  identify  with  the  typical  constellations  of  the 
twelve  months  of  the  year,1  should  have  been  entitled 
"  the  Bull  of  Light"  in  the  primitive  astronomical  records. 
He  was,  in  fact,  the  celestial  bull  who  ploughed  the 
the  great  furrow  of  the  sky,  and  from  whom  the  first 
sign  of  the  Zodiac  borrowed  its  name.  We  may  see  in 
him  the  prototype  of  that  famous  bull  of  later  legend 
whom  Anu  created  in  order  to  avenge  upon  Gisdhubar 
the  slight  offered  by  the  latter  to  Istar.  The  Sun-god 
eventually  became  the  monster  slain  by  a  solar  hero. 
Such  are  the  results  of  time  working  upon  the  half -for 
gotten  beliefs  and  tales  of  an  earlier  age. 

"While  in  some  instances  the  old  totemistic  conceptions 
were  evaded  by  the  degeneration  of  a  god  into  a  mere 
animal,  in  others  the  reverse  process  took  place,  the 
bestial  element  being  eliminated  from  the  nature  of  the 
god.  It  was  thus  that  uthe  divine  storm-bird"  of  the 
ancient  Accadian  faith  passed  into  the  god  Zu  of  the 
Semitic  epoch.  "The  divine  storm-bird"  was  a  ravenous 
bird  of  prey,  of  large  size  and  sharp  beak,  who  darted  on 
its  spoil  and  devoured  the  flesh.  The  Semitic  Babylonians 
identified  it  with  their  Zu,  partly  because  zu  signified  a 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  53,  2.  In  Nisan,  the  first  month,  he  was  accordingly 
identified  with  Dun-kun-e,  "  the  hero  of  the  rising  dawn,"  or  Mercury, 
who  is  elsewhere  called  "  the  prince  of  the  men  of  Harran"  (iii.  67,  28), 
in  consequence  of  the  cult  that  was  carried  on  there.  In  Adar,  the  last 
month,  he  was  "the  fish  of  Ea"  or  Pisces.  "The  Bull  of  heaven" 
(Gud-ana)  is  mentioned  in  iii.  53,  56 

294  LECTURE    IV. 

"  stormy  wind,"  partly  because  a  species  of  vulture  was 
called  by  the  same  name.  But  the  conception  of  the 
tempest  as  a  bird  which  rushes  on  its  prey  is  common  to 
many  mythologies.  In  Aryan  mythology  the  storm- 
cloud  appears  under  the  varying  forms  of  the  eagle,  the 
woodpecker,  and  the  robin  redbreast,  the  sacred  bird  of 
Thor;  while  in  Chinese  folk-lore  the  storm-bird  is  "a 
bird  which  in  flying  obscures  the  sun  and  of  whose  quills 
are  made  water- tuns."  The  roc  of  the  Arabian  Mghts, 
with  its  wings  ten  thousand  fathoms  in  width,  and  its 
egg  which  it  was  a  sin  in  Aladdin  to  wish  to  take  from 
the  place  where  it  hung,  is  but  an  echo  of  the  Chinese 
storm-bird.  It  is  in  the  nest  of  the  storm-bird  that  the 
tempest  is  brewed;  it  swoops  upon  the  earth  with  the  rush 
of  his  wings,  and  the  lightning  itself  is  but  the  gleam 
of  his  flight.  Even  a  poet  of  to-day  instinctively  speaks 
of  the  curlews  as  "  dreary  gleams  about  the  moorland 
flying  over  Locksley  Hall." 

"The  divine  storm-bird"  was  known  as  Lugal-banda, 
"the  lusty  king,"  and  was  the  patron  deity  of  the  city 
of  Marad,  near  Sippara.  He  brought  the  lightning,  the 
fire  of  heaven,  from  the  gods  to  men,  giving  them  at 
once  the  knowledge  of  fire  and  the  power  of  reading  the 
future  in  the  flashes  of  the  storm.  Like  Prometheus, 
therefore,  he  was  an  outcast  from  the  gods.  He  had 
stolen  their  treasures  and  secret  wisdom,  and  had  com 
municated  them  to  mankind.  In  Babylonia,  as  in  Greece, 
the  divine  benefactor  of  primitive  humanity  was  doomed 
to  suffer.  The  knowledge  and  the  artificial  warmth  man 
has  gained  are  not  the  free  gifts  of  the  gods ;  they  have 
been  wrenched  from  them  by  guile;  and  though  man 
has  been  allowed  to  retain  them,  his  divine  friend  and 


benefactor  is  condemned  to  punishment.  The  culture- 
god  of  totemistic  Marad  is  thus  a  very  different  being 
from  the  culture-god  of  Eridu;  both,  indeed,  are  clad 
in  animal  form;  but  whereas  the  fish-god  of  Eridu  is 
the  willing  and  unhindered  communicator  of  civilisation, 
whose  successor,  Merodach,  becomes  a  god  of  light  and 
healing,  the  bird-god  of  Marad  is  a  pariah  among  his 
divine  brethren,  hunted  out  of  heaven  by  the  great  gods, 
and  wresting  from  them  by  craft  man's  future  knowledge 
of  good  and  evil.  It  was  only  in  the  later  syncretic  age, 
when  these  uglier  facts  of  the  earlier  mythology  were 
glossed  over  or  forgotten,  that  the  divine  "bull"  was 
described  as  "  the  offspring  of  the  god  Zu"  (W.  A.  I.  iv. 
23,  19). 

The  scribes  of  Assur-bani-pal  have  preserved  for  us 
the  mutilated  copy  of  a  bilingual  poem,  or  part  of  a 
poem,  which  recounted  the  flight  of  Zu  to  the  mountain 
of  'Sabu  or  Kis.  It  begins  thus : 1 

"  Lugal-tudda  (fled)  to  the  mountain  a  place  remote 
In  the  hill  of  'Sabu  he  (dwelt). 
No  mother  inhabits  it  and  (cares  for  him). 
No  father  inhabits  it  and  (associates)  with  him. 
No  priest2  who  knows  him  (assists  him). 
He  who  (changed)  not  the  resolution,  even  the  resolution  of  his 


in  his  own  heart  (he  kept)  his  resolution. 
Into  the  likeness  of  a  bird  was  he  transformed, 
into  the  likeness  of  Zu  the  divine  storm-bird  was  he  transformed. 
His  wife  uplifts  the  neck.3 

The  wife  of  Zu,  the  son  of  Zu,  may  he  cause  them  to  dwell  in  a 

1  W.A.I.  iv.  14,  No.  1. 

2  Kal,  "the  gallus -priest"  in  the  Accadian.     The  Semitic  version 
has  aqru,  "noble." 

3  Assyrian  tu(llc) ;  see  W.  A.  I.  iv.  15,  41. 

296  LECTUBE   IV. 

even  the  god  of  tlie  river-reeds  (Enna)  and  the  goddess  the  lady 

of  the  basket  of  river-reeds  (Gu-enna).1 
From  his  mountain  he  brought  (her), 
as  a  woman  fashioned2  for  a  mother  made  beautiful,3 
the  goddess  of  plants,4  as  a  woman  fashioned  for  a  mother  made 


Her  paps5  were  of  white  crystal ; 
her  thighs6  were  bathed  in  silver  and  gold. 

[Here  follow  many  mutilated  lines.] 
On  (his)  head  he  placed  a  circlet  j 
....  on  his  head  he  set  a  coronal 
(when)  he  came  from  the  nest  of  the  god  Zu. 
(In  a  place)  unknown  in  the  mountain  he  made  his  tomb." 

It  will  be  seen  that  the  identity  of  the  god  Zu  with  a 
bird  is  explained  in  accordance  with  the  ideas  of  a  modern 
time.  It  has  become  a  transformation  voluntarily  under 
gone  by  the  deity,  for  the  sake,  as  it  would  seem,  of 
securing  a  beautiful  bride.  The  old  faith  of  totemism  is 

1  Nin-Gu-enna  was  resolved  into  the  Semitic  Bilat-ili  (W.  A.  I.  ii. 
55,  11);  but  according  to  W.  A.  I.  iii.  67,  56,  she  was  peculiarly  the 
utuk,  or  "  spirit  of  the  temple  of  Mu  ..."    The  Gu-enna,  or  guardian 
of  the  river,  was  the  title  of  an  officer  (K  177,  30). 

2  Not  "clever,"  as  Lyon. 

3  In  the  Semitic  translation  :  "  a  mother  who  has  been  appointed 
for  beauty." 

4  In  the  Accadian  original,  Mn-ka-si.    Her  nine  sons  are  enumerated 
in  W.  A.  I.  iii.  68,  25—32,  the  eldest  being  'Siris,  "  the  goddess  of 
plants,"  herself !     Among  the  others  are  "  the  god  of  the  pure  tongue," 
''the  god  of  the  strong  tongue,"  "the  god  of  the  beautiful  tongue," 
"the  god  of  the  palate  of  the  fat  mouth,"  and  "the  god  who  is  not 
powerful."     Kin-ka-si  should  probably  be  read  Nin-gu-siga,  "lady  of 
the  full  mouth." 

5  Accadian  kakkul.     The  Assyrian  mazu  is  the  Hebrew  riTE,  and 
means  "  to  suck,"  not  "  to  pour  out,"  as  Zimmern  supposes.    Namzitum 
is  also  found  in  K161.  iii.  24,  and  R358,  4  (where  it  signifies  "a 

6  Comp.  W.  A.  I.  ii.  1, 175,  and  41,  53.     The  Accadian  seems  to  be 


thus  changing  into  a  fairy-tale.  But  there  were  other 
stories  which  remembered  that  the  transformation  of  the 
god  was  not  the  voluntary  act  it  is  here  represented  to 
have  been.  A  long  but  broken  text  explains  why  it  was 
that  he  had  to  take  refuge  in  the  mountain  of  'Sabu 
under  the  guise  of  a  bird  of  prey.  We  learn  that  Zu 
gazed  upon  the  work  and  duties  of  Mul-lil;  "  he  sees 
the  crown  of  his  majesty,  the  clothing  of  his  divinity, 
the  tablets  of  destiny,  and  Zu  himself,  and  he  sees  also 
the  father  of  the  gods,  the  bond  of  heaven  and  earth. 
The  desire  to  be  Eel  (Mul-lil)  is  taken  in  his  heart ;  yea, 
he  sees  the  father  of  the  gods,  the  bond  of  heaven  and 
earth ;  the  desire  to  be  Bel  is  taken  in  his  heart :  '  Let  me 
seize  the  tablets  of  destiny  of  the  gods,  and  the  laws  of 
all  the  gods  let  me  establish  (lukhmum) ;  let  my  throne 
be  set  up,  let  me  seize  the  oracles ;  let  me  urge  on  the 
whole  of  all  of  them,  even  the  spirits  of  heaven.'  So  his 
heart  devised  opposition;  at  the  entrance  to  the  forest 
where  he  was  gazing  he  waited  with  his  head  (intent) 
during  the  day.  When  Bel  pours  out  the  pure  waters, 
his  crown  was  placed  on  the  throne,  stripped  from  (his 
head).  The  tablets  of  destiny  (Zu)  seized  with  his  hand ; 
the  attributes  of  Bel  he  took;  he  delivered  the  oracles. 
(Then)  Zu  fled  away  and  sought  his  mountains.  He 
raised  a  tempest,  making  (a  storm)." 

Then  Mul-lil,  "  the  father  and  councillor  "  of  the  gods, 
consulted  his  brother  divinities,  going  round  to  each  in 
turn.  Anu  was  the  first  to  speak.  He  "  opened  his 
mouth,  he  speaks,  he  says  to  the  gods  his  sons :  *  (Who 
ever  will,)  let  him  subjugate  Zu,  and  (among  all)  men 
let  the  destroyer  pursue  him  (?).'  (To  Eimmon)  the  first 
born,  the  strong,  Anu  declares  (his)  command,  even  to 

298  LECTURE   IV. 

him :  .  .  .  <  0  Eimmon,  protector  (?),  may  thy  power  of 
fighting  never  fail !  (Slay)  Zu  with  thy  weapon.  (May 
thy  name)  be  magnified  in  the  assembly  of  the  great  gods. 
(Among)  the  gods  thy  brethren  (may  it  destroy)  the 
rival.  May  incense  (?)  (etarsi)  be  offered,  and  may 
shrines  be  built !  (In)  the  four  (zones)  may  they  esta 
blish  thy  strongholds.  May  they  magnify  thy  fortress 
that  it  become  a  fane  of  power  in  the  presence  of  the 
gods,  and  may  thy  name  be  mighty?'  (Eimmon) 
answered  the  command,  (to  Anu)  his  father  he  utters 
the  word :  '  (0  my  father,  to  a  mountain)  none  has  seen 
inayest  thou  assign  (him) ;  (never  may)  Zu  play  the  thief 
(again)  among  the  gods  thy  sons ;  (the  tablets  of  destiny) 
his  hand  has  taken;  (the  attributes  of  Bel)  he  seized,  he 
delivered  the  oracles ;  (Zu)  has  fled  away  and  has  sought 
his  mountains.' '  Eimmon  goes  on  to  decline  the  task, 
which  is  accordingly  laid  upon  another  god,  but  with 
like  result.  Then  Anu  turns  to  Nebo :  "  (To  Nebo),  the 
strong  one,  the  eldest  son  of  Istar,  (Anu  declares  his 
will)  and  addresses  him  :  ...  '  0  Nebo,  protector  (?), 
never  may  thy  power  of  fighting  fail !  (Slay)  Zu  with 
thy  weapon.  May  (thy  name)  be  magnified  in  the  as 
sembly  of  the  great  gods  !  Among  the  gods  thy  brethren 
(may  it  destroy)  the  rival !  May  incense  (?)  be  offered 
and  may  shrines  be  built !  In  the  four  zones  may  thy 
strongholds  be  established !  May  they  magnify  thy 
stronghold  that  it  become  a  fane  of  power  in  the  presence 
of  the  gods,  and  may  thy  name  be  mighty  ! '  !N"ebo 
answered  the  command  :  '  0  my  father,  to  a  mountain 
none  hast  seen  mayest  thou  assign  (him) ;  never  may  Zu 
play  the  thief  (again)  among  the  gods  thy  sons  !  The 
tablets  of  destiny  his  hand  has  taken ;  the  attributes  of 


Bel  he  has  seized ;  he  has  delivered  the  oracles ;  Zu  is 
fled  away  and  (has  sought)  his  mountains.' '  Like  Bim- 
mon,  Nebo  also  refused  to  hunt  down  and  slay  his  brother 
god,  the  consequence  being,  as  we  have  seen,  that  Zu 
escaped  with  his  life,  but  was  changed  into  a  bird,  and 
had  to  live  an  exile  from  heaven  for  the  rest  of  time. 

The  "  divine  storm-bird,"  however,  who  invested  him 
self  by  stealth  with  the  attributes  of  Mul-lil,  and  carried 
the  knowledge  of  futurity  to  mankind,  served  to  unite 
the  two  species  of  augury  which  read  the  future  in  the 
flight  of  birds  and  the  flash  of  the  lightning.  The  first 
species  was  but  a  branch  of  the  general  pseudo-science 
which  discovered  coming  events  from  the  observation  of 
animals  and  their  actions,  while  the  second  species  was 
closely  allied  to  the  belief  that  in  the  thunder  men  heard 
the  voice  of  the  gods.  The  old  belief  marked  its  impress 
upon  Hebrew  as  well  as  upon  Assyro-Babylonian  thought. 
"  The  voice  of  thy  thunder  was  in  the  whirlwind,'7  says 
the  Psalmist ; 1  and  nothing  can  show  more  clearly  what 
must  once  have  been  the  Canaanitish  faith  than  the  poetic 
imagery  of  another  Psalm  (xxix.) :  "  The  voice  of  the 
Lord  is  upon  the  waters  ;  the  God  of  glory  thundereth  ; 
the  Lord  is  upon  many  waters.  The  voice  of  the  Lord  is 
powerful ;  the  voice  of  the  Lord  is  full  of  majesty.  The 
voice  of  the  Lord  breaketh  the  cedars;  yea,  the  Lord 
breaketh  the  cedars  of  Lebanon.  .  .  .  The  voice  of  the 
Lord  shaketh  the  wilderness  ;  the  Lord  shaketh  the  wil 
derness  of  Kadesh.  The  voice  of  the  Lord  maketh  the 
hinds  to  calve,  and  discovereth  the  forests."  In  the 
Talmud,  "  the  voice  of  the  Lord"  has  become  the  lath  qol, 

1  Ps.  Ixxvii.  18. 

300  LECTURE   IV. 

or  "  daughter  of  the  voice,"  a  supernatural  message  from 
heaven  which  sometimes  proceeded  from  the  Holy  of 
Holies,  sometimes,  like  the  Scu/wmov  of  Socrates,  assumed 
the  form  of  an  intuition  directing  the  recipient  as  to  his 
course  in  life.1 

This  prophetic  voice  of  heaven  was  heard  m  the  thunder 
by  the  Accadians  as  well  as  by  the  Semites.  I  have 
already  noticed  that  the  Accadians  believed  the  sounds 
of  nature  to  be  divine  voices,  from  which  the  initiated 
could  derive  a  knowledge  of  the  future.  At  Eridu  it 
was  more  especially  the  roar  of  the  sea  in  which  the 
Sumerian  priest  listened  to  the  revelations  of  his  deities, 
and  this  perhaps  was  the  oracle  through  which  Cannes 
had  spoken  to  men.  In  the  rival  city  of  northern  Baby 
lonia,  where  the  supreme  god  presided  over  the  realm  of 
the  dead,  and  not  over  the  waters  of  the  sea,  the  divine 
voice  came  to  men  in  the  thunder.  By  the  side  of  Mul- 
lil,  the  lord  of  the  ghost -world,  stood  Mul-me-sarra 
(Wiil-mo-sara),  "  the  lord  of  the  voice  of  the  firmament." 
Mul-me-sarra,  in  fact,  was  but  Mul-lil  himself  in  another 
form,  and  hence,  as  lord  of  Hades,  was  the  author,  not 
only  of  the  thunder,  but  of  subterranean  noises  as  well. 
It  is  thus  that  he  is  addressed  in  a  hymn,  which  is,  how 
ever,  not  older  than  the  Semitic  period : 2 

1  See  Dr.  S.  Louis  in  the  Proceedings  of  the  Society  of  Biblical 
Archeology,  Ap.  6,  1886,  pp.  117,  118. 

2  K  48.    It  is  probably  quite  late,  but  embodies  earlier  ideas.    There 
is  no  Accadian  text  attached  to  it.     On  the  reverse,  which  is  almost 
entirely  destroyed,  mention  is  made  of  "six  hymns"  to  Samas,  Mero- 
dach  and  Anu,  besides  other  hymns  to  Merodach  which  had  to  be 
recited  on  the  north  side  of  the  altar,  and  a  hymn  or  hymns  to  Kusku 
on  the  east  side  of  it.     "Altogether,"  it  is  stated,  "  there  are  fifteen 
hymns  (to  be  said}  on  the  north  and  east  sides.     On  the  west,  nine 



"  0  lord  of  the  voice  of  the  firmament,  lord  of  the  earth,  prince  of 

lord  of  the  place1  and  the  mountain  from  whence  none  returns, 

even  the  mountain  of  the  spirits  of  earth, 
ordainer  of  the  laws  of  the  earth,  the  mighty  bond  of  heaven  and 

mighty  lord,  in  whose  absence  Nin-girsu  will  not  direct  in  garden 

and  canal,  will  not  create  the  crop  (appuna) ; 
lord  of  the  fetter  (umasi\  who  in  his  might  rules  the  earth, 
strengthening  the  broad  (earth),  holding  the  bolts  of  the  lower 


giving  sceptre  and  reign  to  Anu  and  Mul-lil ; 
by  thy  command  let  the  foundation-stone  of  this  place 
last  long  before  thee  at  all  seasons;2 

like  the  seat  of  thy  lordship  let  it  be  a  judgment-hall  on  earth. 
Upon  it  may  Anu,  Bel  and  Ea  firmly  establish  the  throne." 

Perhaps  Mul-me-sarra  is  also  the  deity  who  is  addressed 
in  another  hymn3  as  "the  warrior-god  (Erimmu),  the 
bright  one,  the  sword  (or  lightning)  of  Istar,"  and  of 
whom  it  is  said:  "May  he  give  thee  rest  with  kindly 
hand  (rittu],  may  he  rain  life  and  tranquillity  upon  thee 
with  his  hand ! "  Under  the  name  of  Iskhara,  Istar  herself 
was  called  "the  sword"  or  "lightning  of  heaven,"  and 
as  such  was  identified  with  the  constellation  of  the 
Scorpion;4  and  the  hand  of  the  goddess  Bunene  is  enti 
tled  "the  inundator  of  the  lightning,"  that  of  the  Ela- 
mite  god  Lagamar  being  "  the  inundator  of  the  earth," 

hymns  to  Assur,  Mul-me-sarra,  the  Sun  of  midday,  Laz  (?),  and  the 
Hero-god  (Dun)  who  quiets  the  heart,  Bel  of  cattle,  the  Lady  of  cattle, 
Bel  of  the  pure  mound  (Birs-i-Nimrud),  (and)  the  Lady  of  the  pure 
mound.  Offer  sacrifices,  lay  reeds  which  have  been  cut  up,  offer  food 
and  oil ;  let  the  hand  of  the  prince  take  honey  and  butter,  the  food  of 
the  god  of  revelations  (BAR-BAR),  and  recite  the  following." 

1  Asriy  possibly  for  asari,  "  destruction,"  here. 

2  Or,  perhaps,  "all  the  cardinal  points"  (IM-KAK-A-BI). 

8  K2.  111.  150.  Obv.  «  K4195,  8—10. 

302  LECTURE   IV. 

and  that  of  the  god  of  impurity  "the  inundator  of  the 
crown  (?)."* 

The  voices  heard  by  the  Babylonian  in  nature,  however, 
were  not  a  whit  more  sacred  to  him  than  the  inarticulate 
voice  which  found  expression  in  the  name.     Like  all 
primitive  peoples,  the  Chaldeans  confounded  the  person 
and  the  name  by  which  he  was  known.     The  name,  in 
fact,  was  the  personality,  and  whatever  happened  to  the 
name  would  happen  equally  to  the  personality.     Injury 
could  be  done  to  a  person  by  using  his  name  in  a  spell ; 
and,  similarly,  to  pronounce  the  name  of  a  deity  compelled 
him  to  attend  to  the  wishes  of  the  priest  or  exorcist. 
As  among  the  ancient  Egyptians,  the  secret  names  of 
the  gods — many  of  them  heirlooms  from  a  primaeval  age, 
whose  actual  meaning  was  forgotten — were  not   only 
especially  holy,  but  also  especially  efficacious.     Names, 
consequently,  like  the  persons  or  things  they  represented, 
were  in  themselves  of  good  and  evil  omen;   and  the 
Babylonian  would  have   sympathised  with  the  feeling 
which  made  the  Roman  change  Maleventum  into  Bene- 
ventum,  or  has  caused  the  Cape  of  Storms  to  become  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope.     Whether  this  superstition  about 
names  was  of  purely  Semitic  origin,  or  whether  it  was 
shared  in  by  the  Accadians,  we  have  no  means  of  deter 
mining  at  present ;  the  analogy  of  other  races,  however, 
in  a  corresponding  stage  of  social  development  would 
lead  us  to  infer  that  the  superstition  was  the  independent 
possession  of  Accadians  and  Semites  alike.   At  all  events, 
it  was  deeply  imprinted  upon  the  Semitic  mind.     The 
sacredness  attached  to  the  name  of  the  God  of  Israel 

i  K  220,  Rev. 


among  the  later  Jews,  and  the  frequent  employment  of 
the  name  for  the  person  of  the  Lord,  bear  witness  to  the 
fact.  "When  Moses  was  ordained  to  his  mission  of  lead 
ing  his  people  out  of  Egypt  and  forming  them  into  a 
nation,  it  was  prefaced  by  what  was  henceforth  to  be 
the  sacred  and  national  name  of  their  God. 

There  were  names  of  good  fortune  and  names  of  evil 
fortune,1  and  special  significance  was  attached  to  a 
change  of  name.  Three  successive  usurpers  of  the  throne 
of  Assyria — Pul,  Ulula  or  Ilulaios,  and  the  father  of 
Sennacherib — all  discarded  their  old  names  on  the  suc 
cessful  accomplishment  of  their  usurpation.  Pul  and 
Ulula  adopted  those  of  the  two  famous  monarchs  of  the 
older  Assyrian  dynasty,  Tiglath-Pileser  and  Shalmaneser, 
retaining  their  original  designations  only  in  Babylonia, 
where  the  names  they  had  adopted  were  associated  with 
ideas  of  hostility  and  invasion;  while  Sargon,  who  claimed 
to  be  lord  of  Babylonia  as  well  as  of  Assyria,  identified 
himself  with  the  past  glories  of  the  ancient  kingdom  by 
taking  the  name  of  Sargon  of  Accad.  The  adoption  of 
these  time-honoured  names  of  itself  conferred  legitimacy 
upon  the  new  claimants  of  the  throne;  along  with  the 
name  they  inherited  the  title  and  the  claim  to  veneration 
of  those  who  had  borne  them.  It  must  have  been  for  a 
similar  reason  that  Esar-haddon's  name,  according  to 
Sennacherib,  was  changed  to  that  of  Assur-etil-yukin- 
abla,  "Assur  the  hero  has  established  the  son,"  "for 
affection's  sake,"2  though  the  prince  preferred  to  retain 
his  earlier  appellation  of  Esar-haddon  or  Assur-akh- 

1  W.  A.  I.  v.  27,  49—52. 

2  Ki  ruha,  W.A.I,  iii.  16,  3.     Possibly  the  change  of  name  was 
occasioned  by  the  death  of  an  elder  brother. 

304  LECTURE    IV. 

iddina,  "Assur  has  given  the  brother,"  after  his  accession 
to  the  throne.  We  are  reminded  of  the  records  of  the 
Jews,  from  which  we  learn  that  Jedidiah  became  the 
Solomon  of  later  history,  and  the  Pharaoh  of  Egypt 
"turned  the  name"  of  Eliakim  into  Jehoiakim. 

The  preservation  of  their  names  was  a  matter  about 
which  the  kings  of  Babylonia  and  Assyria  were  especially 
anxious.  Terrible  curses  are  denounced  against  those 
who  should  destroy  or  injure  "the  writing  of  their 
names,"  and  substitute  their  own  names  instead.  On 
the  other  hand,  the  gods  are  invoked  to  allow  the  names 
of  the  kings  to  last  "  for  ever,"  or  to  "  guide  their  names 
aright."  Even  captured  cities  have  their  names  altered 
in  token  of  conquest,  and  it  is  possible  that  the  scru 
pulous  care  with  which  the  names  of  foreign  potentates 
are  recorded  in  the  Assyrian  annals,  as  well  as  the  interest 
shown  by  both  Babylonians  and  Assyrians  in  the  lan 
guages  of  their  neighbours,  had  to  do  with  the  peculiar 
respect  they  paid  to  the  name. 

In  the  ancient  hymns,  the  phrase,  "  mankind,  what 
soever  be  their  name,"  is  of  frequent  occurrence,  and 
seems  to  signify  that  as  the  special  favours  of  the  gods 
could  be  showered  only  on  those  whose  names  were  recited, 
a  vague  and  general  expression  of  the  kind  would  avoid 
the  difficulty  of  enumerating  by  its  own  name  each  divi 
sion  of  the  human  race.  So,  too,  when  the  author  of  a 
penitential  psalm  speaks  of  a  god  or  goddess  whom  he 
"knew not,"  it  is  probable  that  he  is  thereby  deprecating 
the  wrath  of  some  offended  deity  with  whose  name  he  is 
unacquainted.1  A  hymn  to  the  creator  calls  upon  him 

1  A  fragment  from  the  great  medical  work  (M.  1101,  Obv.  3  —  14), 
in  which  the  patient  is  allowed  his  choice  of  a  practitioner's  receipt  or 


under  his  various  names  to  direct  the  laws  of  the  world, 
to  raise  the  dead  to  life,  to  overthrow  the  wicked  and 
hostile,  and  to  guide  the  stars  of  heaven,  and  puts  into 
the  mouth  of  Ea  the  following  words  :  "  Since  his  name 
has  made  his  offspring  strong,  let  his  name  be  Ea  even 
as  mine  is ;  all  the  bonds  of  my  laws  may  he  carry  (to 
them) ;  all  my  secret  wisdom  may  he  bear  away,  through 
the  fifty  names  of  the  great  gods."  After  this,  it  is  said, 
his  hearers  "  pronounced  his  fifty  names  and  wrote  down 
his  precepts."1  As  "the  great  gods"  were  fifty  in  num 
ber,2  the  ascription  of  their  fifty  names  to  the  creator 
was  equivalent  to  identifying  him  with  all  of  them. 
When  they  lost  their  names,  they  lost  their  individual 
personality  as  well. 

Closely  connected  with  the  mystical  importance  thus 
assigned  to  names  was  the  awe  and  dread  with  which 
the  curse  or  excommunication  was  regarded.  Once  uttered 
with  the  appropriate  ceremonies,  the  binding  of  knots 
and  the  invocation  of  divine  names,  it  was  a  spell  which 
even  the  gods  were  powerless  to  resist.  In  Assyrian  it 

a  charm,  makes  this  pretty  clear.  The  whole  passage  runs  :  "  Cut  up 
some  eyebright  (?),  the  slice  of  a  bird,  the  tongue  of  a  dog,  the  plant 
that  grows  in  the  plain,  the  flesh  of  the  daslum,  and  the  golden  kakis 
of  the  sheep  (kakis  lunum  khuratsi,  a  species  of  grebe,  according  to 
Houghton),  and  compound  these  six  ingredients:  (or  make  a  khutesitiya 
of  herbs,  offer  beer,  and  repeat  a  spell  seven  times  to  the  heart :)  drink 
the  mixture  in  wine  ;  continue  drinking  (it)  for  three  days,  and  on  the 
fourth  day  your  health  will  be  restored.  (This  is)  the  spell :  *  Thou, 
whoever  he  is,  who  like  a  road  has  determined  the  path,'  (which)  repeat 
in  addition  :  *  The  god,  whoever  he  is,  who  like  a  road  has  determined 
the  path,  like  long-drawn  brandings  (ke  sadduti)  he  has  loved  my 

1  See  above,  p.  141. 

»  K  4029,  Rev. 

306  LECTURE   IV. 

was  called  the  mamit ,  in  Accadian  the  sabba,1  and  was 
naturally  considered  to  be  divine.  In  Accadian,  Mami 
had  been  a  goddess ; 2  the  borrowed  Assyrian  deity,  there 
fore,  assumed  the  Semitic  feminine  termination.  In  the 
tenth  book  of  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar,  the  goddess  Mam- 
metu,  as  her  name  is  there  spelt,  is  called  uthe  maker  of 
fate"  who  "has  fixed  the  destinies"  of  mankind,  "  along 
with"  the  spirits  of  the  earth ;  "  she  has  established  death 
and  life,  but  the  days  of  death  are  unknown."3 

Mamit  thus  bore  a  striking  resemblance  to  the  Fate 
of  the  Eomans  and  the  Ate  of  the  Greeks.  Like  Ate, 
her  operations  were  usually  conceived  of  as  evil.  Just  as 
Namtar,  the  plague-demon,  was  also  the  personification 
of  doom  and  destioy,  so  too  Mamit  was  emphatically 
the  concrete  curse.  If  she  established  life  as  well  as 
death,  it  was  only  because  the  term  of  life  is  fixed  by 
death;  death,  and  not  life,  was  the  real  sphere  of  her 
work.  Hence  the  mamit  was  known  among  the  Acca- 
dians  as  the  (nam-)  erima  or  "  hostile  doom;"  and  though 
Anu,  as  we  have  seen,  might  as  the  pole-star  be  called 
"  the  mamit  of  heaven 2''  it  is  in  no  friendly  guise  that  the 
mamit  is  presented  to  us  in  the  magical  texts.  It  was, 

1  In  Surnerian,  sagga,  from  an  earlier  sangua,  perhaps  connected 
with  danga,  "a  bond,"  whence  the  Semitic  fanaqw,  "to  bind."     A 
special  class  of  priests,  "  attached,"  like  the  Levites,  to  particular  sanc 
tuaries,  took  their  name  from  sanga. 

2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  51,  55,  "  Mami  the  queen."     "The  river  of  Mami  the 
queen"  seems  to  have  been  near  Cutha,  since  both  it  and  "the  river  of 
the  companion  of  Mami"  come  between  "the  river  of  the  fortress  of 
Nergal"  and  "  the  river  of  the  place  of  ascent  of  Laz."   In  K  220,  Obv. 
27,  the  goddess  Mamiti  is  mentioned  immediately  before  Nin-gur,  "  the 
lady  of  the  abyss." 

3  Haupt,  Babylonisclie  Nimrodepos,  p.  66.     The  Accadian  equiva 
lents  of  "  the  maker  of  fate"  are  given  in  W.  A.  I.  v.  9,  10. 


in  fact,  like  the  power  of  excommunication  in  the  Middle 
Ages,  the  most  terrible  weapon  that  could  be  used  by  the 
priestly  exorcist.  For  the  power  of  invoking  the  aid  of 
the  goddess  Mamit  by  pronouncing  the  curse  was  com 
pletely  in  his  hands.  All  that  was  needed  was  the  per 
formance  of  certain  rites  and  the  repetition  of  certain 
words.  Armed  with  the  magic  wand,1  he  could  lay  the 
terrible  excommunication  on  the  head  of  his  enemy,  and 
cause  it  to  issue  forth  from  the  body  of  his  friend.  "  Let 
the  mamit  come  forth  that  I  may  see  the  light,"  is  one  of 
the  petitions  we  meet  with  in  the  tablets  ;2  and  Tiglath- 
Pileser  I.  states  that  after  his  conquest  of  the  kings  of 
Kahri  he  "  freed  them,  prisoners  and  bound  as  they  were, 
in  the  presence  of  the  Sun-god  (his)  lord,  and  made  them 
swear  to  be  his  servants  from  henceforth  and  for  ever, 
under  pain  of  the  curse  (mamit)  of  (his)  great  gods."3 

In  the  hymns  the  mamit  occupies  a  conspicuous  place. 
Thus  we  read : 

"  The  river-god  is  bright  like  the  digger  of  the  ground.  The  curse 
(flies)  before  him ;  its  cry  (is)  like  that  of  a  demon.4  All  the  land 
^lows  like  the  height  of  the  sunset-horizon.  May  the  sun  at  his  rising 
remove  the  darkness,  and  may  there  never  be  gloom  in  the  house.  May 
the  curse  go  forth  to  the  desert,  to  a  pure  place.  0  spirit  of  heaven, 
conjure  the  curse;  0  spirit  of  earth,  conjure  it ! — The  formula  for  undo 
ing  the  curse  when  the  water  of  the  river  surrounds  a  man."5 

1  Called  gilgillum  in  Assyrian,   "the  reed  of  doom"  in  Accadian 
(W.A.I,  ii.  24.  2,  3).     In  a  ritual  text  (1266,  1—6)  the  worshipper 
is  ordered  to  come  into  the  presence  of  Ea,  and,  turning  his  face  to  the 
rising  sun,  to  "  place  the  point  (GIR)  of  the  reed  of  the  free-will  offerings 
and  the  reed  of  the  priests  (qci7i  nindabi  qan  urugalli),  the  implements 
(unut)  of  the  gods  as  many  as  exist,  the  implements  of  the  sons  of  the 

2  W.  A.  I.  iv.  7,  7.  3  W.  A.  I.  i.  13.  Col.  v.  12-^16. 

4  In  the  Accadian,  "the  monstrous  beast." 

5  W.A.I,  iv.  14,  No.  2. 


308  LECTURE    IV. 

Another  hymn  begins  in  the  following  way : 

•  «  0  curse,  curse,  the  boundary  that  none  can  pass  !  The  limit  of 
the  gods  (themselves)  against  which  they  may  not  transgress !  The 
limit  of  heaven  and  earth  which  altereth  not !  The  unique  god  against, 
whom  none  may  sin ! l  Neither  god  nor  man  can  undo  (it).  A  snare 
not  to  be  passed  through,  which  is  set  for  evil.  Whether  an  evil  utuk, 
or  an  evil  alu,  or  an  evil  ekimmu,  or  an  evil  gallu,  or  an  evil  god,  or  an 
evil  incubus,  or  a  labartu,  or  a  labatsu,  or  an  akhkharu,  or  a  lilu,  or  a 
lilat,  or  the  maid  of  a  Ulu,  or  the  evil  plague-demon,  or  a  disease-bring 
ing  asaTcku,  or  a  bad  sickness,  which  has  set  its  head  towards  the  drop 
ping2  water  of  Ea,  may  the  snare  of  Ea  seize  it !  which  has  stretched 
its  head  against3  the  wisps  of  Nirba  (the  Corn-god),  may  the  lasso  of 
Nirba  bind  it !  Against  the  limitation  (of  the  curse)  it  has  transgressed. 
Never  may  (the  limitation)  of  the  gods,  the  limitation  of  heaven  and 
earth,  depart  from  it.  (The  limitation  of  the  great)  gods  it  reverences 
not.  May  (the  lasso  of)  the  great  gods  bind  it !  May  the  great  gods 
curse  it !  May  they  send  back  (the  demon)  to  (his)  home !  The  home 
of  (his)  habitation  may  they  cause  him  to  enter !  As  for  him  who  has 
turned  to  another  place,  to  another  place,  a  place  invisible,  may  they 
bring  him  !  As  for  him  who  has  turned  into  the  gate  of  the  house, 
the  gate  of  a  place  from  whence  there  is  no  exit  may  they  cause  him 
to  enter !  As  for  him  who  has  stationed  himself  in  the  door  and  bolts, 
in  the  door  and  bolts  may  they  bind  him  with  bonds  from  which  there 
is  no  release  !  As  for  him  who  has  blown  (?)  into  the  threshold  and 
socket,  who  into  threshold  and  hinge  has  crept,  like  water  may  they 
pour  him  out,  like  a  cup  may  they  shatter  him,  like  a  quarry-stone 
may  they  break  him  to  pieces  !  As  for  him  who  has  passed  across  the 
beam,  his  wings  may  they  cut !  As  for  him  who  has  thrust  his  neck 
into  the  chamber,  may  they  twist  his  neck  !"* 

This  is  a  fair  sample  of  the  incantations  by  means  of 
which  the  Babylonians  believed  that  they  could  free 

1  The  Assyrian  plays  upon  another  meaning  of  the  Accadian  word, 
and  renders,  "  whom  none  may  humble."     Jensen  is  mistaken  in  con 
sidering  the  Assyrian  word  to  stand  for  musepilu. 

2  "Tidal"  seems  to  be  meant.     In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  3.  15,  16,  izarrum 
is  interchanged  with  inattuku,  "spits  out,"  as  a  rendering  of  biz-biz-ene 
(alternate  renderings  being,  "  thy  weapon  is  the  great  monster  \usum- 
<jallu\  which  from  its  mouth  spits  out  the  breath"  or  "drips  blood"). 

*  Assyrian,  "drips  upon,"  4  W.  A.  I.  iv.  16,  No.  1. 


themselves  from  the  demoniac  agencies  that  surrounded 
them.  The  power  of  the  mamit  was  such  that  the  gods 
themselves  could  not  transgress  it,  and  the  mamit  was 
accordingly  invoked  to  protect  the  mortal  from  the  demons 
of  plague  and  sickness.  But  the  plague  itself  might  be 
regarded  as  a  mamit  or  "  doom"  inflicted  by  heaven  upon 
the  guilty  earth.  Such  is  the  view  taken  in  the  following 
fragment,  which  I  once  compared  with  the  Biblical  account 
of  the  destruction  of  Sodom  and  Gomorrah.  Perhaps 
the  doom  of  Sennacherib's  host  may  furnish  a  closer 
parallel  :  l 

"  A  darkness  came  from  the  middle  of  the  deep, 
The  doom  des(cended)  from  the  midst  of  the  heaven, 
The  sword  (mowed  down)  the  earth  like  grass  ; 
Towards  the  four  winds  the  flash  (went)  overthrowing  like  fire. 
It  sickened  the  men  of  the  city,  it  tortured  their  bodies. 
In  city  and  land  it  caused  lamentation  ;  small  and  great2  (alike) 

it  (smote). 

Freeman  and  handmaid  it  bound  ;  with  wailing  it  filled  (them). 
In  heaven  and  earth  like  a  storrn-cloud  it  rained  ;  it  made  a  prey. 
To  the  place  of  supplication  of  their  god  they  hastened  and  raised 

high  the  voice. 
They  received  his  mighty  (aid)  and  like  a  garment  it  concealed 

They     ....     him  and  the  poison  (was  expelled  ?). 

.       .       .       (they  embraced)  his  feet. 

[The  next  line  is  completely  destroyed].. 

his  body  was  tried. 
(In  lamentation)  he  smites3  his  breast." 

The  Babylonian,  at  all  events  in  early  times,  did  not 

1  W.A.I,  iv.  9,  No.  1. 

2  In  the  Accadian  original  the  order  is  reversed  :  "great  and  small." 

3  Udannis  ;  cf.  S  949,  Rev.  17,  ina  Mri  u  saJcparim  ramani  udannis, 
"with  scourges  and  in  expiation  I  beat  myself."     Zimmern  misreads 
utannis,  "  he  weakens." 

310  LECTURE    IV. 

hold  a  very  consistent  theory  about  the  origin  of  disease. 
On  the  one  hand,  all  sickness  was  ascribed  to  demoniacal 
possession ;  the  demon  had  been  eaten  with  the  food,  or 
drunk  with  the  water,  or  breathed  in  with  the  air,  and 
until  he  could  be  expelled  there  was  no  chance  of  recovery. 
But,  on  the  other  hand,  a  pestilence,  an  epidemic,  which 
swept  over  a  whole  country,  was  regarded  with  the 
same  feelings  of  awe-struck  veneration  as  the  greater 
gods  themselves.  It  was  believed  to  be  an  instrument 
in  their  hands  for  punishing  the  sins  and  shortcomings 
of  mankind.  As  we  shall  see,  the  same  theory  was  held 
by  the  authors  of  the  penitential  psalms  in  respect  of 
maladies  that  attacked  some  single  individual  only ;  but 
it  was  the  general  persuasion  when  a  wide-reaching  cala 
mity  like  a  plague  afflicted  the  country.  The  plague 
consequently  was  held  to  be  a  divine  being  who  was  sent 
by  the  gods,  like  the  storm  or  the  deluge,  to  take  ven 
geance  on  men  for  their  misdeeds. 

But  this  plague-god  could  be  viewed  under  two  aspects. 
Under  the  older  one  he  was  Namtar,  the  plague-demon, 
who  was  the  minister  of  the  gods  of  the  lower  world  and 
the  arbiter  of  human  fate.  In  Semitic  times  the  minister 
of  divine  anger  approached  more  nearly  the  Jewish  con 
ception  of  the  angel  of  death.  He  was  himself  a  god, 
and  had  under  his  command  not  only  the  "  seven  gods," 
but  also  a  special  messenger,  Isum  or  Itak,  "  the  street- 
traverser."1  Isum  was  represented  by  the  colossi  which 

1  On  a  cylinder  in  the  possession  of  Dr.  Huggins ;  also  in  W.  A.  I. 
iv.  2.  23,  24,  where  the  word  "traverser"  is  represented  by  nagir,  and 
the  Accadian  name  of  Isum — 'Sig-sagga,  "the  head  of  destruction" — is 
given.  Like  the  seven  evil  spirits,  Isum  was  regarded  as  having  the 
form  of  a  whirlwind. 


stood  at  the  approach  to  a  temple;1  his  master's  name 
was  Nerra  (Nera),  who,  as  we  have  seen,  was  one  and 
the  same  as  Nergal,  the  god  of  the  dead.  Nerra,  "the 
warrior  of  the  gods,"  as  he  is  termed,  appears  in  an  old 
legend,  first  brought  to  light  by  Mr.  George  Smith,  as 
bringing  death  and  desolation  upon  the  states  of  Ba 
bylonia,  apparently  in  consequence  of  their  evil-doing. 
"  Anu  had  heard'7  the  report  of  the  seven  gods  who  had, 
perhaps,  been  sent  to  investigate  what  was  going  on  upon 
the  earth.  Accordingly  he  summoned  Nerra ;  "  Let  thy 
hands  march,"  he  said,  "since  the  inhabitants  of  the 
country  have  seditiously  broken  their  bond ; 2  and  I  have 
set  thy  heart  to  cause  desolation;3  thou  shalt  strike  the 
people  of  the  black  heads  unto  death  with  the  desolation  (?) 
of  the  god  Ner ;  may  thy  weapons  be  their  sword  of 
destruction,  and  let  thy  hands  go  !"4 

Babylon  is  one  of  the  first  cities  to  feel  the  destroying 
sword  of  the  Chaldsean  angel  of  death.  It  is  besieged  by 
its  foes,  and  during  the  siege,  the  sword,  the  famine  and 
the  plague  are  let  loose  in  its  streets.  Mul-lil  is  repre 
sented  as  looking  on,  and  at  last  saying  in  "  his  heart : " 

"  Nerra  is  crouching  at  his  great  gate  among  the  corpses  of  the  noble 
and  the  slave  :  Nerra  is  crouching  at  the  gate ;  thou  hast  set  his  seat 
(there).  Their  foes  have  besieged  the  men  of  Babylon,5  and  thou  art 

1  W.A.I.  ii.  50,  10. 

2  Ki  sa  nisi  dadme  khubur-sina  KA-KA  irrikltatstsu. 

3  Vbld-va  libba-ka  ana  sakan  kamarri.    Kamarri  is  not "  snare"  here. 

4  Zalmat-kakkadi  ana  sumutti  taqqud  puqu  AN  Ner ;  hi  kakki-ka  iz- 
Qin-ti-sunu-va  lilliku  iddka. 

5  The  same  siege  of  Babylon  may  possibly  have  been  referred  to  in 
a  tablet  (S  2037),  of  which  the  ends  only  of  a  few  lines  remain.     They 
begin  thus:   (1)  ...  "he  lamented;  (2)  ....  he  cried  out;   (3)  .  .  . 
seize  me ;  (4)  .  .  .  Babylon,  is  taken," 

312  LECTURE   IV. 

their  curse.  Thou  didst  bind  them  with  chains  (?)  and  didst  fix  the 
doom  (?),  0  warrior  Nerra.  Thou  didst  leave  one  and  go  forth  against 
another.  The  form  of  a  dog  dost  thou  assume  and  enterest  into  the 
palace.  The  people  saw  thee ;  their  weapons  were  broken.  The  heart 
of  the  high-priest,  the  avenger  of  Babylon,  is  full  of  valour ;  when  he 
urged  on  his  troops  to  take  the  spoil  of  the  enemy,  before  the  people 
he  has  done  wickedness.  In  the  city  to  which  I  shall  send  thee  thou 
shalt  fear  no  man,  shalt  reverence  none  •  small  and  great  slay  together, 
and  leave  not  the  youngest  of  the  evil  race.  Thou  shalt  spoil  the  first 
that  come  to  Babylon,  the  people  of  the  king  which  is  gathered  toge 
ther  and  entered  into  the  city,  shaking  the  bow  and  setting  up  the 
spear,  auxiliaries  who  have  transgressed  against  Ann  and  Dagon ;  thou 
shalt  set  up  their  weapons ;  like  the  waters  of  the  storm  shalt  thou  give 
their  corpses  to  the  open  places  of  the  city  ;  thou  shalt  open  their  trea 
sures  (?)  and  bid  the  river  carry  them  away."1 

Merodach  mourned  over  the  doom  pronounced  against 
his  city,  and  apparently  with  some  effect ;  for  after  a  good 
many  broken  and  lost  lines,  the  tablet  goes  on  to  describe 
the  despatch  of  the  terrible  plague-god  to  Erech,  "  the  seat 
of  Anu  and  Istar,  the  city  of  the  choirs  of  the  festival- 
makers  and  consecrated  maidens  of  Istar,"  who  "  dreaded 
death,"  for  the  nomad  'Suti  of  the  desert  had  combined 
against  their  state.  The  eunuch-priests  were  now  com 
pelled  to  bow  the  face  before  another  deity  than  the 
peaceful  Istar,  who  "  cried  and  was  troubled  over  the 
city  of  Erech."  Eventually,  however,  Nerra  was  "quieted" 
by  "  Isum  his  councillor,  the  illustrious  god  who  goes 
before  him,"  "  and  the  warrior  Nerra  spake  thus  :  '  Sea- 
land  against  sea -land,  'Sumasti  against  'Sumasti,  the 
Assyrian  against  the  Assyrian,  the  Elamite  against  the 
Elamite,  the  Kosssean  against  the  Kosseean,  the  Kurd 
against  the  Kurd,  the  Lullubite  against  the  Lullubite, 
country  against  country,  house  against  house,  man  against 

i  M  55,  col.  1,  4—26. 


man,  brother  against  brother,  let  them  destroy  one  another, 
and  afterwards  let  the  Accadian  come  and  slay  them  all, 
and  fall  upon  their  breasts.' l  The  warrior  Nerra  (further) 
addresses  a  speech  to  Isum,  who  goes  before  him  :  i  Go, 
Isum,  incline  all  thy  heart  to  the  word  thou  hast  spoken.' 
(Then)  Isum  sets  his  face  towards  the  land  of  the  west ; 
the  seven  warrior  gods,  unequalled,  sweep  (all  things) 
away  behind  him.  At  the  land  of  Phoenicia,  at  the 
mountains,  the  warrior  arrived;  he  lifted  up  the  hand, 
he  laid  it  on  the  mountain ;  the  mountain  of  Phoenicia 
he  counted  as  his  own  soil." 

In  thus  marching  to  the  west,  the  minister  of  the  Ba 
bylonian  god  of  death  approaches  the  country  in  which 
another  angel  of  pestilence  was  seen  by  the  king  of 
Israel.  "  By  the  threshing-floor  of  Araunah  the  Jebusite," 
David  had  beheld  the  angel  of  the  Lord  "  stretching  out 
his  hand  upon  Jerusalem  to  destroy  it."  As  in  Babylon, 
so  too  in  Israel,  the  plague  had  been  a  visitation  for  the 
sins  of  man.  It  was  the  instrument  of  God's  anger 
wielded  by  the  hands  of  his  angel-minister.  That  same 
angel-minister  had  once  before  stood  before  Balaam,  and 
with  a  drawn  sword  in  his  hand  had  threatened  the  Syrian 
prophet  with  death.  He  was  not  a  demon  from  the 
lower  world,  like  the  old  Chaldaean  plague-spirit  Namtar ; 
he  was  not  the  inexorable  law  of  destiny,  before  whom 
even  the  gods  had  to  submit  their  wills ;  but  a  member 
of  the  celestial  hierarchy,  the  messenger  of  a  beneficent 
God.  He  came  to  destroy,  but  it  was  to  destroy  the 
guilty.  The  sins  of  man,  and  not  the  malevolence  or 
passionless  law  of  a  supernatural  being,  brought  death 

1  Comp.  Is.  xix.  2 — 4. 

314  LECTURE   IV. 

and  suffering  into  the  world.  The  Babylonian  legend  of 
Nerra,  like  the  records  of  the  Old  Testament,  tells  the 
same  tale  as  the  Babylonian  story  of  the  Deluge. 

So  remarkable  an  agreement,  on  the  one  hand,  between 
the  religious  conceptions  of  Semitic  Babylonia  and  Israel, 
and,  on  the  other,  their  equally  remarkable  contrast  to 
the  older  Accadian  doctrines  embodied  in  the  plague- 
demon  Namtar  and  Mamit  the  goddess  of  fate,  can  be 
explained  in  only  one  way.  Even  if  the  fact  stood  alone, 
and  we  had  no  knowledge  of  the  earlier  history  of 
Chaldsea,  we  should  be  forced  to  conclude  that  while  the 
later  population  of  Babylonia  belonged  to  the  same  race 
as  that  which  inhabited  Palestine,  it  was  essentially  dif 
ferent  from  the  race  which  had  formulated  the  older 
beliefs.  The  Semitic  belief,  in  fact,  stands  out  in  striking 
contrast  to  beliefs  which  betrayed  no  consciousness  of 
human  sin,  and  the  necessity  of  finding  in  this  an  ex 
planation  of  malevolent  action  on  the  part  of  the  gods 
above.  The  difference  between  the  plague-god  of  Cutha 
and  the  agencies  which  had  once  been  imagined  to  work 
evil  to  mankind,  is  a  difference  that  cannot  be  bridged 
over  by  any  theory  of  development ;  it  is  necessarily  due 
to  a  difference  of  race. 


To  Francois  Lenormant,  whose  untimely  death  was 
an  irreparable  loss  to  the  progress  of  Assyrian  research, 
belongs  the  merit  of  first  describing  and  defining  the 
sacred  books  of  ancient  Babylonia.  With  the  keenness 
of  perception  that  characterised  him,  he  pointed  out  two 
main  collections  of  Babylonian  sacred  texts ;  one  contain 
ing  magic  incantations  and  exorcisms ;  the  other,  hymns 
to  the  gods.  The  magical  texts  obviously  belong  to  an 
earlier  and  less  advanced  stage  of  religious  belief  than 
the  hymns ;  they  presuppose,  in  fact,  a  sort  of  Shamanism, 
according  to  which  each  object  and  power  of  nature 
has  its  si  or  "  spirit,"  which  can  be  propitiated  only 
by  a  sorcerer-priest  and  certain  magical  rites ;  while  the 
hymns,  on  the  other  hand,  introduce  us  to  a  world  of 
gods,  and  their  language  from  time  to  time  approaches  a 
high  level  of  spiritual  expression.  The  collection  of 
hymns  Lenormant  very  happily  named  the  Chaldsean 
Big- Veda,  and  to  them  he  subsequently  added  a  third 
collection,  consisting  of  penitential  psalms  which  in  many 
respects  resemble  the  psalms  of  the  Old  Testament.  All 
three  collections  are  generally  composed  in  both  Accadian 
and  Semitic  Babylonian,  the  Semitic  Babylonian  being  a 
translation  of  the  presumably  older  Accadian  text  which 

316  LECTURE   V. 

is  written  line  by  line  above  it.  It  was  natural  to  sup 
pose  that  what  has  happened  in  the  case  of  other  sacred 
books  happened  also  in  Babylonia ;  that  the  magical  texts 
were  first  collected  together,  the  collection  subsequently 
acquiring  a  sacred  character ;  and  that  a  similar  process 
took  place  in  the  case  of  the  hymns.  The  whole  work 
would  have  been  complete  before  the  culture  and  literature 
of  the  Accadians  were  handed  on  to  the  Semites  :  in  this 
way  the  preservation  of  the  Accadian  originals  would  be 
accounted  for,  the  very  words  of  the  primitive  documents 
and  their  correct  pronunciation  having  come  to  be  looked 
upon  as  sacred  and  inspired;  while  the  Semitic  interlinear 
translation  served,  like  the  Aramaic  Targums  of  the  Old 
Testament,  to  assist  the  priests  in  understanding  the 
object  of  their  recitations.  As  time  went  on,  the  reli 
gious  beliefs  which  underlay  the  magical  texts  became 
so  far  removed  from  those  of  a  later  age  that  the  texts 
themselves  gradually  passed  into  the  background,  the 
collection  of  hymns  taking  more  and  more  their  place  as 
pre-eminently  the  Babylonian  Bible. 

The  theory  as  thus  stated  is  at  once  simple  and  pro 
bable.  But  although  in  its  main  outlines  it  is  no  doubt 
correct,  further  research  has  shown  that  its  simplicity  is 
due  to  the  imperfection  of  the  materials  upon  which 
Lenormant  had  to  work,  and  that  it  will  have  to  be  very 
considerably  modified  before  all  the  facts  now  known  to 
us  are  accounted  for. 

In  the  first  place,  there  are  numerous  magical  texts 
which  are  later,  and  not  older,  than  many  of  the  hymns. 
Nothing  is  more  common  than  to  find  a  magical  text 
breaking  off  into  a  hymn  or  a  fragment  of  a  hymn  the 
recitation  of  which  forms  part  of  the  spell  or  ceremony. 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  317 

A  large  number  of  the  hymns  that  have  come  down  to 
us  are  thus  embedded  in  the  magical  documents  of  which 
they  form  an  integral  part.  The  hymn  to  the  seven 
evil  spirits,  for  instance,  quoted  in  a  former  Lecture,  is 
really  a  portion  of  one  of  the  most  famous  of  the  magical 
texts.  In  such  instances  there  can  be  no  question  that 
the  hymn  is  older  than  the  text  in  which  it  is  found. 
Moreover,  it  is  difficult  to  distinguish  the  hymns  when 
used  in  this  way  from  similar  poetical  addresses  to  divine 
beings,  which,  so  far  from  being  especially  sacred,  were 
employed  as  spells  in  medical  practice. 

Thus  in  a  great  work  on  Babylonian  medicine,  frag 
ments  of  which  I  have  published  and  explained,1  receipts 
for  the  cure  of  diseases,  which  scarcely  differ  from  those 
that  would  be  prescribed  to-day,  are  mingled  with  charms 
and  spells  for  driving  away  the  demons  of  sickness. 
The  sick  man,  in  fact,  was  given  his  choice  between  a 
scientific  treatment  and  a  recourse  to  the  old  system  of 
the  primitive  " medicine-man;"  and  it  was  left  to  his  faith 
or  superstition  to  determine  whether  he  would  employ 
the  regular  practitioner  or  his  spiritual  predecessor  the 
exorcist-priest.  Thus  in  the  middle  of  a  list  of  various 
medicines,  carefully  prepared  from  different  ingredients 
and  mixed  with  date-wine  or  water,  we  find  an  alter 
native  spell,  which  the  patient  was  instructed  to  "  place 
on  the  big  toe  of  the  left  foot,"  and  there  cause  it  to 
remain.  The  spell  was  as  follows : 

"  0  wind,  my  mother,  wind,  wind,  ruler  of  the  gods  art  thou,  wind 
among  the  storm-gods  ! 

Zeitschrift  fur  Keilscliriftforschung,  ii.  1,  3. 

318  LECTURE    V. 

Yea,  thou  makest  the  water1  to  stream  down  (tutsitsa),  and  with 
the  gods  thy  brothers  liftest  up  the  stream  (ctsits)  of  thy 

'Now  these  two  verses  are  introduced  by  a  word  which 
was  read  en  in  Accadian,  siptu  in  Assyrian,  and  had  the 
meaning  of  "  spell"  or  " incantation."  The  same  word 
introduces  also  a  certain  number  of  the  hymns  to  the 
gods,  and  thus  throws  light  on  the  object  of  their  quota 
tion  and  use.  They  were,  in  fact,  spells,  and  the  sacred- 
ness  with  which  they  were  invested  was  due  to  the  fact 
that  they  were  so.2 

We  now  have  an  explanation  of  two  further  facts 
which  would  otherwise  be  puzzling.  On  the  one  hand, 
by  the  side  of  the  hymns  to  the  gods  there  exist  texts 
which  agree  with  the  hymns  in  form  and  character,  but 
differ  from  them  in  being  addressed,  like  the  medical 
spell  I  have  just  quoted,  to  an  inferior  order  of  super 
natural  beings.  On  the  other  hand,  the  place  of  a  hymn 
may  be  taken  by  a  legendary  poem  or  a  portion  of  a 
legendary  poem.  The  transformation  of  the  god  Zn  into 
a  bird,  which  I  cited  in  the  last  Lecture,  is  an  example  of 
this.  If  the  legendary  poem  had  to  do  with  the  divine 
powers  who  were  to  be  invoked  or  whose  wrath  had  to 
be  deprecated,  its  use  as  a  spell  was  as  efficacious  as 
that  of  a  hymn.  Our  own  folk-lore  shows  that  nothing 
comes  amiss  to  the  inventor  of  popular  spells ;  the  Lord's 
Prayer  or  a  verse  from  the  Bible  are  as  serviceable  in 

1  Literally,  "  the  urine,"  which  indicates  the  object  of  the  spell. 

2  The  hymns  to  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara,  composed  by  Semitic  priests, 
form,  however,  an  exception  to  this  rule.    The  introductory  word  siptu 
with  them  merely  means  "  to  be  recited,"  its  old  signification  having 
come  in  time  to  take  this  meaning  upon  itself. 


curing  disease  or  in  removing  the  curse  of  a  witch  as  the 
most  time-honoured  combination  of  unintelligible  words. 

The  relation  between  the  magical  texts  and  the  hymns 
of  ancient  Babylonia  is  now,  therefore,  clear.  In  many 
cases,  at  least,  the  hymns  formed  part  of  the  magical 
texts;  they  were  the  mystical  incantations  around  the 
recitation  of  which  the  rites  prescribed  in  the  texts  were 
intended  to  revolve.  The  magical  text  was  not  complete 
without  the  repetition  of  a  form  of  words  as  well  as  a 
direct  appeal  to  the  names  of  certain  supernatural  beings ; 
and  the  form  of  words  was  in  many  instances  furnished 
by  hymns  to  the  gods  or  analogous  kinds  of  composition. 

It  is  not  only  the  magical  texts,  however,  in  which  we 
find  the  hymns  embedded  and  prefaced  by  the  significant 
word  siptUj  "  incantation."  They  are  still  more  nume 
rous  in  the  ritual  texts — in  the  texts,  that  is  to  say,  which 
describe  the  religious  ceremonies  the  Babylonian  was 
called  upon  to  perform.  These  ceremonies  had  for  the 
most  part  the  same  end  and  object  as  the  magical  texts ; 
they  were  not  so  much  a  communion  with  the  deities  of 
heaven,  as  an  attempt  to  compel  them  by  particular  rites 
and  words  to  relieve  the  worshipper  from  trouble,  or  to 
bestow  upon  him  some  benefit.  Divine  worship,  in  short, 
was  a  performance  rather  than  an  act  of  devotion,  and 
upon  the  correctness  of  the  performance  depended  entirely 
its  efficacy.  The  mispronunciation  of  a  single  word,  the 
omission  to  tie  a  knot  at  the  right  moment,  would  inva 
lidate  the  whole  ceremony  and  render  its  repetition  neces 
sary.  The  ritual,  therefore,  was  a  sort  of  acted  magic, 
and  it  is  consequently  not  surprising  that  the  hymns 
should  play  the  same  part  in  it  as  they  did  in  the  incan 
tations  of  the  magical  texts. 

320  LECTURE   V. 

It  follows  from  all  this  that  many  of  the  magical  texts 
are,  like  the  ritual  texts,  later  than  many  of  the  hymns. 
The  fact  must  necessarily  introduce  some  modification 
into  Lenormant's  theory  of  the  origin  of  the  sacred  books 
of  Chaldsea. 

In  the  second  place,  not  only  the  hymns,  but  even  the 
magical  texts  are  at  times  composed  in  Semitic  Baby 
lonian  only.  There  is  no  trace  of  an  Accadian  original 
of  any  kind  whatever.  And  not  only  is  this  the  case, 
but  these  purely  Semitic  hymns  occasionally  glide  into 
what  is  neither  more  nor  less  than  unadulterated  magic. 
Here  is  a  specimen  of  one,  which  begins  with  an  address 
to  the  Sun-god  full  of  deep  feeling  and  exalted  thought, 
and  finally  passes  into  an  incantation  equally  full  of  dull 
bathos  and  debasing  superstition : l 

"  0  Sun-god,  king  of  heaven  and  earth,  director  of  things  above 

and  below, 
O  Sun-god,  thou  that  clothest  the  dead  with  life,  delivered  by  thy 


Judge  unbribed,  director  of  mankind, 
the  mercy  is  supreme  of  him  who  is  the  lord  over  difficulty  (HI 


bidding  son  and  offspring  to  come  forth,  light  of  the  world, 
creator  of  all  thy  universe,  the  Sun-god  art  thou  ! 
O  Sun-god,  when  the  ban  (mamii)  for  many  days 
is  bound  behind  me  and  there  is  no  deliverer, 
expulsion  of  the  evil  and  of  the  sickness  of  the  flesh  is  brought 

about  (by  thee) ; 
among  mankind,  the  flock  of  the  god  Ner,  whatever  be  their 

names,  he  selects  me  : 

1  S  949,  Obv.  The  upper  part  of  the  tablet  is  lost.  All  that  remains 
of  it  are  the  two  last  lines  :  "  He  clothes  with  life,  and  to  the  blessed 
hands  of  my  god  and  my  goddess  for  grace  and  life  entrust  me."  Then 
comes  a  line  of  separation,  and  the  hymn  to  Samas  is  introduced  by  the 
word  siptu. 


"    after  trouble  fill  me  with  rest, 

and  day  and  night  I  will  stand  undarkened. 
In  the  anguish  of  my  heart  and  the  sickness  of  my  flesh  I  was 
bowed  down. 

0  father  supreme,  I  am  debased  and  walk  to  and  fro. 
With  scourges1  and  in  expiation  I  beat  myself. 

My  littleness  (?)  I  know  not,  the  sin  I  have  committed  I  knew  not. 

1  am  small  and  he  is  great ; 
The  walls  of  my  god  may  I  pass. 

O  bird,  stand  still  and  hear  the  hound  ! 

O  Sun-god,  stand  still  and  hear  me  ! 

Overpower  the  name  of  the  evil  ban  that  has  been  created, 

whether  the  ban  of  my  father,  or  the  ban  of  my  begetter, 

or  the  ban  of  the  seven  branches  of  the  house  of  my  father, 

or  the  ban  of  my  family  and  my  slaves, 

or  the  ban  of  my  free-born  women  and  concubines, 

or  the  ban  of  the  dead  and  living,  or  the  ban  of  the  adult  (?)  and 

the  suckling, 

or  the  ban  of  my  father  and  of  him  who  is  not  my  father, 
For  father  and  mother  I  pronounce  the  spell ;  and  for  brother  and 

child  I  pronounce  the  spell. 
For  friend  and  neighbour  I  pronounce  the  spell,  and  for  labourer 

and  workman  I  pronounce  the  spell 
For  the  field  thou  hast  made  and  thy  pasturage  I  pronounce  the 


May  the  name  of  my  god  be  a  father  where  there  is  no  justice. 
To  mankind,  the  flock  of  the  god  Ner,  whatever  be  their  names, 

who  are  in  field  and  city, 
speak,  0  Sun-god,  mighty  lord,  and  let  the  evil  ban  be  at  rest." 

1  Kur i ;  so  in  W.  A.  I.  iv.  7,  4  :  "  the  incantation  is  laid  as  a  scourge 
(kuru)  upon  his  back."  The  Accadian  equivalent  was  luba  (sometimes 
written  with  the  determinative  prefix  AL,  "W.  A.  I.  v.  16.  24,  25),  which 
is  also  translated  by  the  Assyrian  sidhtum  (Heb.  sJiodh).  Sadi  was 
another  Accado-Sumerian  equivalent  (iv.  1,  42).  The  word  is  expressed 
ideographically  ("cord-hand-cutting,"  and  "cutting  cord")  in  v.  14. 
54,  55,  where  we  also  find  mention  of  "  the  scourge,"  sa  ina  tabqirti 
nadu,  "which  is  used  in  penal  examination"  (Heb.  biqqoreth).  Tim 
ideographic  equivalent  of  the  latter  is  "  rope-length  (^areZa)-making." 
Rappu  is  further  the  Assyrian  rendering  of  the  ideographic  compounds 
"rope-skiii-cutting"  and  "rope-hand-cutting"  (v.  14.  57,  58). 


322  LECTURE    V. 

Here  the  hymn  to  the  Sun-god  is  made  a  vehicle  for 
removing  the  ban  or  "  curse"  that  has  fallen  on  the  sick 
man.  The  beliefs  which  produced  the  magical  texts 
must  still  have  been  active,  although  the  hymn  belongs 
to  a  late  period  of  Babylonian  history ;  the  old  doctrine 
of  an  inexorable  fate,  even  if  degraded  into  a  belief  in 
the  witch's  art,  still  existed  along  with  the  worship  of  a 
god  who  restored  the  dead  to  life  and  was  "  supreme  in 
mercy  to  those  that  were  in  trouble."  "We  have  only  to 
turn  to  our  modern  newspapers  to  discover  how  slowly 
such  primaeval  beliefs  die  out,  and  how  long  they  may 
linger  among  the  uneducated  and  superstitious  by  the 
side  of  the  most  exalted  faiths  and  the  mightiest  triumphs 
of  inductive  science.  The  fact  that  one  text  is  magical, 
while  another  contains  a  hymn  to  the  deity,  does  not  of 
itself  prove  the  relative  ages  of  the  two  documents. 

Then,  thirdly,  it  has  become  increasingly  manifest  that 
a  good  many  of  the  so-called  Accadian  texts  are  not 
Accadian  in  their  origin.  As  I  pointed  out  several  years 
ago,1  the  old  Accado-Sumerian  language  was  learned  by 
the  Semitic  Babylonians  as  Latin  was  learned  by  the  medi 
aeval  monks,  and  for  much  the  same  reasons.  It  was  the 
language  of  the  oldest  sacred  texts ;  it  was  also  the  early 
language  of  law;  and  both  priests  and  lawyers  were 
accordingly  interested  in  its  preservation  and  use.  What 
happened  to  Latin  in  the  Middle  Ages  had  already  hap 
pened  to  Accadian  in  Babylonia.  The  monks  spoke  and 
wrote  in  a  language  which  was  Latin  indeed,  but  which 
had  lost  its  classical  purity ;  monkish  Latin  was  full  of 
modern  words  and  idioms,  and  its  grammar  was  not 

1  Babylonian  Literature,  pp.  64,  71,  72. 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALD2EA.  323 

always  scrupulously  accurate.  On  the  other  hand,  it 
contributed  multitudes  of  words,  and  even  forms  of 
expression,  to  the  languages  of  every-day  life  that  were 
spoken  around  it,  and  the  words  were  frequently  modified 
to  suit  the  pronunciation  and  genius  of  the  languages  that 
borrowed  them,  just  as  the  modern  words  which  monkish 
Latin  had  itself  adopted  were  furnished  with  classical 
terminations  and  construed  in  a  classical  fashion.  The 
case  was  precisely  the  same  in  ancient  Chaldoea.  Here, 
too,  there  was  a  monkish  Accadian,  both  spoken  and 
written,  some  of  which  would  have  shocked  the  Accadian 
speakers  of  an  earlier  age.  The  literati  of  the  court 
of  Sargon  of  Accad  had  been  partly  Accadian,  partly 
Semitic ;  the  Accadian  scribes  wrote  and  spoke  Semitic, 
the  Semitic  scribes  wrote  and  spoke  Accadian.  The 
result  was  necessarily  a  large  amount  of  lending  and 
borrowing  upon  both  sides,  and  the  growth  of  an  arti 
ficial  literary  language  which  maintained  its  ground 
for  centuries.  The  way  for  the  rise  of  this  artificial 
dialect  had  already  been  prepared  by  the  long  contact 
there  had  been  between  the  two  chief  languages  of  primi 
tive  Chaldeea.  When  two  languages  thus  exist  side  by 
side — like  Welsh,  for  example,  by  the  side  of  English — 
they  will  borrow  one  from  another,  the  language  of  supe 
rior  culture  and  organisation  being  that  which  exerts  the 
greatest  influence.  The  pupils  will  imitate  the  speech  of 
their  masters  in  art  and  science  even  if,  as  in  the  case  of 
Greece  and  Eome,  the  masters  in  art  and  science  are  the 
subjects  in  political  power. 

From  a  very  early  epoch,  therefore,  possibly  before  the 
separation  of  the  Semitic  family,  the  old  agglutinative 
dialects  of  Chaldsea  had  been  influencing  their  Semitic 

Y  2 

324  LECTURE   V. 

neighbours.  The  work  carried  on  at  the  court  of  Sargon 
was  accordingly  but  a  continuation  of  an  older  process. 
But  it  was  distinguished  from  the  older  process  in  two 
ways.  It  was  the  work  of  cultivated  men,  working  upon 
literary  models  with  a  definite  object  in  view.  It  was, 
moreover,  a  work  that  was  carried  on  under  Semitic 
patronage  and  supremacy,  with  the  necessary  result  that 
in  the  new  artificial  language  the  influence  of  Semitic 
thought  and  speech  upon  the  decaying  speech  of  pre- 
Semitic  Accad  tended  constantly  to  become  greater.  The 
Accadian  texts,  which  were  first  composed  by  Semitic 
scribes,  and  subsequently  handed  down  through  genera 
tions  of  Semitic  copyists,  could  not  fail  to  show  their 
origin  and  history  plainly  stamped  upon  their  face. 

And  such  is  actually  the  case  as  regards  a  good  many 
of  the  texts  which  in  the  early  days  of  Accadian  study 
could  not  be  distinguished  from  the  genuine  productions 
of  Accadian  writers.  It  was  as  yet  impossible  to  separate 
classical  from  monkish  Accadian ;  to  determine  whether 
the  Semitic  text  were  a  translation  of  an  older  Accadian 
one,  or  whether  the  Accadian  was  a  literary  rendering  of 
a  Semitic  original.  Even  now,  with  all  the  progress  that 
has  been  made  during  the  last  few  years  in  our  know 
ledge  of  the  pre- Semitic  dialects  of  Chaldsea,  it  is  not 
always  easy  to  decide  the  question.  It  is  not  enough  to 
show  that  the  Accadian  text  contains  Semitic  words  or 
idioms.  The  words  may  have  been  introduced  by  copy 
ists  ;  while  what  we  imagine  to  be  Semitic  idioms  may 
really  be  imitations  of  earlier  Accadian  modes  of  speech, 
borrowed  when  the  ancestors  of  the  Semitic  family  still 
lived  together  in  their  tents  by  the  western  banks  of  the 
Euphrates.  Apart  from  the  monuments  of  Babylonia 

THE    SACKED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^IA.  325 

and  Assyria,  we  have  no  records  of  Semitic  speech  which 
reach  back  even  approximately  to  that  remote  epoch 
when  the  dialects  which  afterwards  became  the  languages 
of  Assyria,  of  Aram  and  of  Phoenicia,  were  still  spoken 
within  the  limits  of  a  single  community,  and  when  that 
community  was  still  leading  the  life  of  the  Bedouin  of 
to-day.  It  is  always  possible  that  words  and  forms  of 
expression  which  we  believe  to  be  distinctively  Semitic 
may,  after  all,  have  had  an  Accadian  origin ;  before  this 
can  be  settled,  it  will  be  necessary  to  exhume  more 
monuments  which,  like  those  of  Tel-loh,  belong  to  the 
pre- Semitic  era,  and  to  subject  the  non- Semitic  language 
in  which  they  are  written  to  a  searching  examination.1 

Enough  now,  however,  is  known  about  the  charac 
teristic  features  of  pure  and  unadulterated  Accado-Su- 
merian  to  enable  us  to  assign  most  of  the  hymns  and 
magical  texts  to  their  true  origin,  and  to  determine 
whether  their  parentage  is  Semitic  or  Accadian.  Not 
unfrequently  the  conclusions  which  have  been  arrived  at 
on  philological  grounds  are  confirmed  by  the  contents  of 
the  texts.  Texts  which  refer  to  Semitic  deities  or  to 
Semitic  sanctuaries  disclose  at  once  their  real  age  and 
source.  It  is  equally  impossible  to  refer  to  an  early  date 
compositions  which  breathe  a  philosophical  spirit,  or  are 
in  accord  with  the  Semitic  conceptions  of  the  divine 
government  of  the  world.  The  only  question  is,  to  how 

1  Arabic  is  of  little  assistance  in  settling  the  question,  since  our 
knowledge  of  it  is  so  recent  that  it  is  impossible  to  say  in  many  cases 
whether  the  lexical  and  idiomatic  points  of  agreement  between  it  and 
the  North  Semitic  languages  may  not  be  due  to  borrowing.  Aramaean 
tribes  have  lived  in  immediate  proximity  to  the  original  speakers  of 
Arabic  from  very  early  times,  and  must  have  lent  many  words,  if  not 
idioms,  to  their  neighbours. 

326  LECTURE    V. 

late  a  period  such  compositions  belong;  whether,  for 
example,  the  account  of  the  Creation  in  days,  which 
bears  so  curious  a  resemblance  to  the  first  chapter  of 
Genesis,  goes  back  to  the  epoch  of  Khammuragas,  or  is, 
as  I  believe,  a  product  of  the  age  of  Assur-bani-pal. 

But  even  when  we  have  determined  the  relative  date 
and  origin  of  a  particular  composition,  our  difficulties  are 
by  no  means  over.  An  ancient  literature  like  that  of 
Babylonia  must  necessarily  contain  comparatively  little 
that  is  original.  Most  of  the  works  that  have  come  down 
to  us  are  based  on  older  literary  productions,  and  are 
often  mere  centos  of  earlier  compositions.  The  great 
Epic  of  Gisdhubar  is  little  more  in  its  present  form  than 
a  redaction  of  earlier  poems  relating  to  the  Herakles  of 
Erech.  It  is  full  of  episodes  like  that  of  the  Deluge, 
which  have  no  very  close  connection  with  the  main 
subject  of  the  work.  And  the  episode  itself  may  be 
pieced  together  out  of  more  than  one  earlier  poem.  Thus 
the  story  of  the  Deluge  shows  clear  traces  of  having  been 
compounded  out  of  at  least  two  older  narratives,  in  one 
of  which  the  catastrophe  was  ascribed  to  the  Sun-god,  in 
the  other  to  Bel  (Mul-lil).  The  Descent  of  Istar  into 
Hades,  again,  begins  with  a  description  of  the  infernal 
world,  which,  with  a  few  slight  differences  of  expression, 
is  found  again  in  the  sixth  book  of  the  Epic ;  a  com 
parison  of  the  two  passages  goes  to  show  that  the  authors 
of  both  have  alike  copied  the  description  from,  an  earlier 
source.  The  Descent  of  Istar,  indeed,  abounds  with  pas 
sages  which  are  plainly  borrowed  from  other  poems,  and 
whose  richly  poetical  language  stands  out  in  marked 
contrast  to  the  dull  and  prosaic  character  of  their  setting ; 
while  its  concluding  lines  have  little  connection  with 


what  precedes  them,  and  are  obviously  an  extract  from 
a  separate  work.  The  authors  of  the  penitential  psalms 
are  fond  of  adding  to  their  productions  a  litany  of  varying 
length,  in  which  the  names  of  certain  divinities  are  in 
voked  ;  the  litany  was  a  common  possession  which  existed 
in  an  independent  form,  and  had  been  handed  down  from 
an  early  period.  Even  the  hymns  are  sometimes  put 
together  out  of  older  materials,  like  certain  of  the  Old 
Testament  psalms  ;  not  only  do  the  same  phrases  and 
lines  recur,  but  whole  passages  as  well.  It  is  the  same 
with  the  magical  texts.  Here,  too,  we  have  repetitions 
and  borrowing ;  here,  too,  we  have  older  fragments  incor 
porated  into  later  texts. 

It  will  be  seen  from  this  how  much  remains  to  be 
done  before  the  sacred  books  of  ancient  Babylonia  can 
be  made  fully  to  tell  their  tale,  and  to  what  an  extent 
the  first  theory  about  their  origin  and  history  must 
require  modification.  In  its  main  outlines,  nevertheless, 
the  theory  first  sketched  by  the  brilliant  insight  of 
Lenormant  still  continues  true ;  it  is  only  in  its  details 
that  it  needs  correction  and  improvement. 

The  magical  texts  formed  the  earliest  sacred  literature 
of  Chaldsea.  This  fact  remains  unshaken.  They  reach 
back  to  a  period  when  the  Semitic  conception  of  a 
supreme  Baal  was  utterly  unknown — when,  indeed,  there 
was  no  definite  conception  of  a  god  at  all.  The  "  crea 
ting"  deity  of  later  Accadian  belief  had  not  yet  emerged 
from  the  religious  consciousness  of  the  Chaldsean.  The 
inhabitant  of  Babylonia  was  as  yet  in  the  purely  Shaman- 
istic  stage  of  religious  development.  The  world  about 
him  was  peopled  by  supernatural  powers,  each  of  which 
was  to  him  a  si  or  "  spirit."  But  it  was  not  a  spirit  in 


our  sense  of  the  word,  nor  in  the  sense  in  which  the 
term  was  used  by  the  Semitic  scribes  of  a  later  day. 
The  ei  was  simply  that  which  manifested  life,  and  the 
test  of  the  manifestation  of  life  was  movement.  Every 
thing  that  moved,  or  seemed  to  move,  was  endowed  with 
life,  for  only  in  this  way  could  primitive  man  explain 
the  fact.  He  himself  moved  and  acted  because  he  had 
life ;  life,  therefore,  was  the  cause  of  movement.  Hence 
the  objects  and  forces  of  nature  were  all  assigned  a  zi 
or  spirit.  The  arrow  that  flew  through  the  air,  the 
stone  that  struck  and  injured,  the  heavenly  bodies  that 
moved  across  the  sky,  the  fire  that  blazed  up  from  the 
ground  devouring  all  that  fell  in  its  way,  had  all  alike 
their  spirits.  The  spirits  were  as  innumerable  as  the 
objects  and  forces  which  surrounded  the  Chaldsean,  and 
as  mysterious  and  invisible  as  his  own  spirit  or  life. 

In  this  phase  of  faith  the  moral  element  was  wholly 
wanting.  The  Chaldsean  had  not  yet  entered  the  Garden 
of  Eden,  and  eaten  of  the  tree  of  the  knowledge  of  good 
and  evil.  The  visible  things  of  nature  may  benefit  or 
injure;  but  their  benefits  and  injuries  seem  altogether 
capricious  and  accidental,  entirely  independent  of  the 
actions  and  thoughts  of  man.  The  same  stone  which  has 
killed  a  man  to-day  may  help  to  build  his  son's  house 
to-morrow;  the  fire  which  scorches  to  death  will  also 
cook  the  food  to  sustain  life.  In  each  event,  all  seems 
determined  by  blind  chance ;  the  spirits  of  nature  may 
live  and  move,  but  they  have  no  passions,  no  emotions. 
If  their  invisible  spirits  are  to  be  influenced,  it  must  be 
by  other  means  than  appeals  to  their  love,  their  anger, 
their  jealousy  or  their  pride. 

Shamanism  accordingly  implies,  not  a  priesthood,  but 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALDyEA.  329 

a  body  of  "  medicine-men,"  or  exorcists,  who  know  the 
spells  whereby  the  spirits  of  nature  can  be  compelled 
either  to  cease  from  injuring  or  to  ill-treat  the  foe. 
"Whether  the  medicine-men  of  primaeval  Chaldsea  had  to 
undergo  any  initiatory  course  of  training,  or  whether 
the  profession  were  open  to  all  alike,  we  do  not  know ; 
our  records  do  not  reach  back  to  the  remote  period  of 
pure  Shamanism,  the  magical  texts  being  merely  sur 
vivals  which  in  their  present  form  belong  to  a  later  time. 
It  is  this  class  of  exorcists,  however,  which  distin 
guishes  the  early  Shamanism  of  Chaldsea  from  what  Dr. 
Tylor  has  termed  simple  Animism.  Shamanism,  is,  in 
fact,  organised  Animism  *  Animism  controlled  and  regu 
lated  by  a  body  of  exorcists  who  take  the  place  of  the 
priesthood  of  a  higher  cult.  It  was  doubtless  the  exist 
ence  of  disease  which  first  called  this  body  of  exorcists 
into  being.  The  prevention  and  cure  of  disease  is  the  main 
object  of  the  magical  texts  and  incantations.  Disease 
was  looked  upon,  as  it  still  is  in  many  parts  of  the  uncivi 
lized  world,  as  possession  by  a  malevolent  spirit.  Just  as 
an  external  wound  might  be  caused  by  a  piece  of  stone 
or  metal,  so  it  was  inferred  an  internal  malady  must  be 
caused  by  an  invisible  agent  of  a  similar  kind — that  is, 
by  the  spirit  of  the  stone  or  metal.  The  same  means 
that  were  adapted  for  getting  rid  of  the  visible  stone  and 
metal  would  be  suitable  for  getting  rid  of  their  invisible 
spirits.  There  is  no  evidence  to  show  that  the  exorcists 
of  Chaldsea  ever  professed  to  extract  pieces  of  actual 
stone  or  metal  from  the  body  of  the  sick,  like  the  medi 
cine-men  of  Australia  or  America ;  but  they  claimed  by 
their  spells  to  expel  the  spirits  which  enabled  these  pieces 
of  stone  and  metal  to  afflict  and  injure.  Listen,  for 

330  LECTURE   V. 

instance,  to  the  opening  words  of  the  great  collection  of 
Chaldsean  magical  texts : 

"  The  evil  god,  the  evil  demon,  the  demon  of  the  field,  the  demon  of 
the  mountain,  the  demon  of  the  sea,  the  demon  of  the  tomb,  the  evil 
spirit,  the  dazzling  fiend,  the  evil  wind,  the  assaulting  wind  which 
strips  off  the  clothing  of  the  body  like  an  evil  demon,  —  conjure,  0 
spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit  of  earth  ! .  . .  .  That  which  is  mis- 
formed,  that  which  is  diseased,  that  which  is  racked  (with  pain),  even 
a  diseased  muscle,  a  constricted  muscle,  a  swollen  muscle,  an  aching 
muscle,  a  painful  muscle,  a  broken  muscle,  an  injured  muscle, — conjure, 
0  spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit  of  earth  ! 

The  sickness  of  the  entrails,  a  sick  heart,  faintness  of  the  heart, 
disease,  disease  of  the  bile,  headache,  violent  vomiting,  a  broken  blood 
vessel  (?),  disease  of  the  kidneys,  difficult  miction,  painful  sickness 
which  cannot  be  removed,  a  dream  of  ill  omen,  —  conjure,  0  spirit  of 
heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit  of  earth  ! 

Him  who  is  the  possessor  of  the  likeness  of  another,  the  evil  face,  the 
evil  eye,  the  evil  mouth,  the  evil  tongue,  the  evil  lips,  the  evil  breath, 
— conjure,  0  spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit  of  earth  ! . .  . . 

The  painful  fever,  the  virulent  fever,  the  fever  which  quits  not  a 
man,  the  fever-demon  who  leaves  not  (the  body),  the  fever  unremov 
able,  the  baleful  fever, — conjure,  0  spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit 
of  earth  ! 

The  painful  plague,  the  virulent  plague,  the  plague  which  quits  not 
a  man,  the  plague-demon  who  leaves  not  (the  body),  the  plague  unre 
movable,  the  baleful  plague, — conjure,  0  spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0 
spirit  of  earth !" 

The  exorcisms  for  driving  away  the  spirits  of  disease 
gradually  introduced  a  moral  element  into  the  character 
of  the  old  spirits  of  nature.  But  the  moral  element  was 
wholly  on  the  dark  side.  The  spirits  of  disease  were 
essentially  evil  and  malevolent.  In  so  far  as  human 
passions  could  be  ascribed  to  them,  the  passions  were  those 
of  the  wicked,  not  of  the  good.  The  worship  of  the  spirits 
of  nature  thus  tended  to  become  a  religion  of  fear. 

Side  by  side,  however,  with  the  growing  belief  in  the 
malevolence  of  the  spirits  of  nature,  there  existed  the 


totemism  of  which  I  have  spoken  in  the  last  Lecture. 
Animals,  as  well  as  other  objects,  had  each  their  special 
spirit,  and  these  spirits  naturally  shared  the  feelings 
and  passions  which  moved  the  animals  to  which  they 
belonged.  The  sacred  animals  were  regarded  as  moral 
agents,  like  men;  the  ox,  whose  labours  benefited  mankind, 
protected  his  worshipper  from  the  attacks  of  evil ;  while 
the  fish  which  supplied  the  inhabitants  of  Eridu  with 
food,  also  brought  to  them  the  elements  of  culture  and 
civilisation.  In  this  way  the  Shamanism  of  earlier  and 
ruder  times  began  to  pass  into  a  higher  form  of  creed ; 
the  exorcist  approximated  more  and  more  to  the  priest, 
and  the  spells  he  used  tended  to  recognise  the  distinction 
between  good  and  evil  in  the  world  of  spirits  as  well  as 
in  the  world  of  men. 

It  was  at  this  point  that  cosmogonic  speculations  first 
exercised  an  influence  upon  the  religion  of  the  Chaldsean 
states.  The  Babylonian  began  to  generalise  and  to  sum 
up  his  individual  impressions  of  outward  phenomena  in 
wider  and  more  abstract  ideas.  Earth  and  heaven  took 
the  place  of  the  individual  objects  and  forces  whose 
sphere  of  action  was  in  the  one  or  the  other ;  the  spirits 
of  these  separate  phenomena  were  subordinated  to  the 
spirits  of  the  earth  and  the  sky.  The  stereotyped  con 
clusion  of  the  old  Accadian  exorcism,  as  we  have  just 
heard,  is,  "  Conjure,  0  spirit  of  heaven  !  conjure,  0  spirit 
of  earth!"  The  earth  out  of  whose  bosom  the  agricultu 
rist  received  the  bounties  of  life,  the  heavens  from  which 
the  fertilising  rain  and  dew  dropped  upon  the  ground, 
and  the  rays  of  the  sun  warmed  all  nature  into  activity, 
became  the  supreme  powers  whose  spirits  dominated 
over  all  others  and  demanded  the  reverence  of  man. 

332  LECTURE    V. 

Unlike  the  malevolent  spirits  of  disease,  the  great  cosmo- 
gonic  spirits  were  essentially  beneficent ;  the  moral  con 
ceptions  of  Chaldeean  faith  were  enlarged  by  the  belief  in 
the  existence  of  good  as  well  as  of  evil  spirits,  and  the 
superiority  of  the  good  to  the  evil.  It  was  an  immense 
step  in  advance,  and  it  corresponds  with  the  time  when  the 
religious  literature  of  Babylonia  first  commences  with  the 
oldest  surviving  magical  texts.  The  earliest  portions  of 
the  latter  belong  to  the  age  when  the  crude  Shamanism  of 
the  past  had  been  tempered  and  modified  by  the  first 
beginnings  of  a  theory  of  the  world. 

From  this  point  onward  we  can  trace  the  further  de 
velopment  of  the  older  creed.  The  struggle  between 
good  and  evil  had  already  begun  in  the  mind  of  the 
Chaldsean  thinker.  The  supernatural  beings  he  wor 
shipped  were  now  divided,  for  the  most  part,  into  two 
hostile  camps.  On  the  one  side  stood  the  demons  of 
disease  and  nightmare;  on  the  other,  the  great  cosmo- 
gonic  powers  of  earth  and  heaven.  It  is  true  that  the 
terrible  spirits  of  disease,  who  loved  the  darkness  of  night 
and  the  solitary  places  of  the  wilderness,  were  not  yet 
consciously  conceived  as  demons,  but  the  moment  was 
not  far  off  when  such  would  be  the  case.  Light  and 
darkness  now  stood  opposed  to  one  another  in  the  spiritual 
as  well  as  in  the  physical  world.  The  old  medicine-man 
was  fast  becoming  a  priest. 

The  introduction  of  cosmological  ideas  and  speculations 
into  Chaldeean  religion  brought  with  it  two  results.  First 
of  all,  there  grew  out  of  it  the  conception  of  creating 
gods.  We  have  already  had  occasion  to  observe  the 
essential  distinction  that  existed  between  the  Accadian 
and  Semitic  conceptions  of  the  universe:  with  the  one, 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  333 

all  things  were  made ;  with,  the  other,  they  were  begotten. 
The  Semitic  Baal  was  a  father ;  the  Accadian  divinity  a 
creator.  According  to  the  Semite,  the  heavens  and  the 
earth  were  carved  out  of  a  pre-existent  chaos ;  according 
to  the  Accadian,  the  heavens  and  the  earth  were  them 
selves  primordial  powers,  maintaining  an  eternal  struggle 
with  the  chaos  of  darkness  and  anarchy.  The  temporary 
triumph  of  chaos  means  the  irruption  of  anarchy  into 
the  fair  order  of  nature — the  destructive  hurricane,  the 
devastating  tempest,  the  darkening  eclipse.  The  return 
of  light  and  sunshine,  of  bright  skies  and  germinating 
seeds,  marks  the  victory  gained  over  the  encroaching 
forces  of  the  lower  world. 

The  earth  and  the  sky  became  the  first  creators,  the 
first  gods.  It  is  they  who  create  all  the  good  things 
which  man  enjoys  below,  including  man  himself.  The 
spirit  of  the  earth  and  the  spirit  of  the  heaven  thus  de 
veloped  into  creating  gods.  But  it  was  before  the  old 
habits  of  thought  and  expression  could  be  quite  eradicated 
from  the  Chaldsean  mind.  The  spirits  which  had  de 
veloped  into  gods  were  themselves  provided  with  spirits ; 
there  was  a  spirit  of  Ea  and  Dav-kina,  of  Ana  and  Mul- 
lil,  as  well  as  of  water  and  earth,  of  heaven  and  hell. 
When  the  gods  took  upon  them  human  shape,  these 
spirits  were  regarded  as  similar  to  the  spirits  of  indi 
vidual  men;  and  the  functions  and  attributes  of  the 
human  spirit  were  reflected  upon  the  spirits  of  the  gods. 
At  the  outset,  however,  it  was  with  the  animal  and  not 
with  the  human  world  that  the  new  gods  were  associated. 
They  were,  in  fact,  confounded  with  the  old  totems.  Just 
as  the  heavenly  bodies,  which  seemed  to  move  of  their 


own  accord  like  living  beings,  were  identified  with  the 
sacred  animals,  so  too  the  spirits  of  earth  and  heaven, 
of  water  and  air,  to  whom  a  creative  power  had  been 
given,  were  similarly  identified  with  them.  The  god 
was  a  beast  before  he  became  a  man,  and  the  spirit  that 
moved  him  was  that  of  the  brute. 

In  the  second  place,  the  deification  of  the  spirits  of 
earth  and  heaven  necessarily  brought  with  it  the  deifica 
tion  of  other  spirits  which  resembled  them  in  character 
and  power.  The  test  of  supernaturalism — of  the  exist 
ence  of  a  spirit — was  the  power  of  movement  possessed 
by  an  object  or  a  force  of  nature;  this  power  now 
became  itself  the  supernatural  being,  the  god  or  spirit. 
The  spirit  of  the  moon,  for  example,  developed  into  a 
god ;  but  the  god  was  abstracted  from  the  visible  moon 
itself,  and  identified  with  the  creative  force  of  the  lunar 
orb  which  manifested  itself  in  motion.  The  new  god 
might  in  turn  be  abstracted  from  the  creative  force,  more 
especially  if  he  were  assimilated  to  the  sacred  steer ;  in 
this  case  the  creative  force  would  become  his  spirit,  in 
no  way  differing,  it  will  be  seen,  from  the  spirit  that 
was  believed  to  reside  in  man. 

We  have  now  reached  the  culminating  point  of  the 
old  Accadian  religion.  Spirits  innumerable  still  exist, 
but  they  are  controlled  and  overawed  by  creative  gods. 
The  gods  represent  the  order  and  law  of  the  universe 
embodied  by  the  sabba,  or  "  fate,"  to  which  even  the  gods 
themselves  must  submit.  Over  against  them  are  the 
malevolent  spirits  of  disease,  of  chaos  and  of  darkness ; 
while  beside  them  are  other  spirits  which  still  retain 
their  primitive  character  of  moral  indifference,  neither 


good  nor  bad,  though  some  might  approximate  more  to 
the  good  and  others  to  the  bad.  But  gods  and  spirits 
alike  were  amenable  to  the  spells  and  exorcisms  used  by 
the  sorcerer-priest,  for  a  priest  he  had  now  become.  By 
his  magical  words  he  could  remove  the  sickness  which 
was  caused  by  demoniac  possession,  or  bewitch  the  person 
and  the  property  of  his  enemy;  he  could  compel  the 
gods  to  listen  to  his  petition  and  to  perform  his  com 
mands.  In  his  hands  and  on  his  lips  was  the  power  of 
the  terrible  sabba,  which  even  the  gods  were  forced  to 
obey.  The  sorcerer  was  still  the  intermediary  between 
mankind  and  the  spiritual  world. 

But,  as  I  have  just  said,  he  had  lost  much  of  his  old 
character.  Among  the  spells  he  employed  were  hymns 
which  imply  a  more  advanced  cult  than  that  of  mere 
magic.  Indeed,  the  very  conception  of  a  creative  deity 
necessarily  brought  with  it  a  service  of  praise  and  adora 
tion  and  the  formation  of  a  fixed  ritual.  A  beneficent 
god  required  another  kind  of  worship  than  that  which 
was  appropriate  to  the  non-moral  spirits  of  Shamanism. 
"When  the  spirit  of  heaven  became  Arm,  temples  were 
raised  in  his  honour,  and  the  worshippers  who  entered 
them  required  something  else  than  that  the  priest  should 
"conjure"  the  object  of  his  cult.  We  leave  the  era 
which  witnessed  the  rise  of  the  magical  texts,  and  enter 
on  the  era  of  the  hymns. 

The  Penitential  Psalms,  of  which  I  shall  speak  further 
on,  frequently  have  a  sort  of  litany  attached  to  them, 
written  in  Accadian  only,  and  invoking  the  aid  of  certain 
deities  under  their  pre-Semitic  names  or  titles.  The 
litany  was  an  old  heirloom,  selections  from  which  were 
taken  by  the  authors  of  the  psalms  and  added  to  their 

336  LECTURE    V. 

compositions.     One  of  those  translated  by  Dr.  Zimmern1 
concludes  as  follows : 

"  0  my  god,  the  lord  of  prayer,  may  my  prayer  address  thee  ! 

0  my  goddess,  the  lady  of  supplication,  may  my  supplication 
address  thee ! 

O  Mato  (Matu),  the  lord  of  the  mountain,  may  my  prayer  address 

O  Gubarra,  lady  of  Eden,  may  my  prayer  address  thee  ! 

O  lord  of  heaven  and  earth,  lord  of  Eridu,  may  my  supplication 
address  thee ! 

0  Merodach  (Asar-mulu-duga),  lord  of  Tin-tir  (Babylon),  may  my 
prayer  address  thee ! 

0  wife  of  him,  (the  princely  offspring  (1)  of  heaven  and)  earth, 
may  my  supplication  address  thee  ! 

0  (messenger  of  the  spirit)  of  the  god  who  proclaims  (the  good 
name),  may  my  prayer  address  thee  ! 

O  (bride,  first-born  of)  UrasC?),  may  my  supplication  address  thee  ! 

O  (lady,  who  binds  the  hostile  (1)  mouth),  may  my  prayer  address 
thee ! 

O  (exalted  one,  the  great  goddess,  my  lady  .Nana),  may  my  sup 
plication  address  thee ! 

May  it  say  to  thee  :  *  (Direct  thine  eye  kindly  unto  me).' 

May  it  say  to  thee  :  '  (Turn  thy  face  kindly  to  me).' 

(May  it  say  to  thee  :  '  Let  thy  heart  rest.') 

(May  it  say  to  thee  :  'Let  thy  liver  be  quieted.') 

(May  it  say  to  thee  :  *  Let  thy  heart,  like  the  heart  of  a  mother 
who  has  borne  children,  be  gladdened.') 

('As  a  mother  who  has  borne  children,  as  a  father  who  has  begot 
ten  a  child,  let  it  be  gladdened')." 

The  litany  belongs  to  a  period  considerably  later  than 
that  which  witnessed  the  rise  and  first  collection  of  the 
magical  texts.  It  is  written  in  the  Accadian  dialect  of 
north  Babylonia,  which  exhibits  the  old  Sumerian  of  the 
south  in  an  advanced  stage  of  decay,  and  further  shows 
traces  of  contact  with  a  Semitic  language.  The  deities 

1  From  Haupt's  AkkadiscJie  Keihchrifttextc,  pp.  116  sq. 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALD.EA.  337 

whose  names  are  invoked  belong  to  different  parts  of 
Babylonia,  and  point  to  a  time  when  not  only  the  separate 
states  of  Chaldeea  had  begun  to  recognise  a  common  pan 
theon,  but  when  northern  and  southern  Babylonia  had 
already  been  united  into  a  single  empire.  Nevertheless, 
the  litany  is  earlier  than  the  age  of  Sargon  of  Accad  and 
the  supremacy  of  the  Semitic  population.  Though  Mero- 
dach  has  already  migrated  from  Eridu  to  Babylon,  still 
referred  to  under  its  old  Accadian  name  of  Din-Tir,  the 
Sun-god  of  Sippara  and  Accad  is  altogether  unknown. 
There  is  no  allusion  to  either  city  or  to  the  divinities 
they  adored.  !N"ana  herself,  the  queen  of  Erech,  is  not 
yet  known  as  Istar,  and  the  Tasmit  of  a  later  day  is 
"  the  bridal  goddess,  the  first-born  of  Uras." 

We  are  still,  therefore,  lingering  on  the  verge  of  the 
pre-Semitic  epoch.  The  Semite  may  be  in  the  land,  but 
the  official  religion  does  not  as  yet  recognise  him.  The 
difference,  however,  between  the  religious  ideas  of  the 
litany  and  those  which  inspired  the  old  magical  texts  is 
immense.  A  whole  age  of  religious  development  lies 
between  them.  The  fundamental  conception  of  the  pre 
ceding  period,  it  is  true,  still  survives ;  the  deities  must 
be  influenced  by  the  spoken  word  of  their  worshipper. 
But  the  spoken  word  has  ceased  to  be  the  spell  or  incan 
tation  ;  it  has  become  a  prayer  and  supplication.  Its 
efficacy  depends  no  longer  on  the  exorcisms  of  a  medicine 
man,  but  on  the  faithful  petitions  of  the  worshipper 
himself.  And  along  with  this  change  in  the  nature  of 
the  cult  has  gone  a  corresponding  change  in  the  divine 
beings  to  whom  the  cult  is  dedicated.  They  have  become 
gods,  bound  together  in  a  common  brotherhood,  like  the 
brotherhood  of  the  cities  over  whose  fortunes  they  preside. 

338  LECTUKE    V. 

Babylonia  possesses  not  only  gods;  it  possesses  a  pantheon, 
an  Olympus,  as  well. 

It  was,  of  course,  only  among  the  more  cultivated 
classes  that  this  newer  and  higher  conception  of  the  divine 
government  of  the  world  was  likely  to  be  found.  The 
masses,  doubtless,  still  clung  to  their  old  superstitions, 
their  old  Shamanism.  The  formation  of  magical  texts, 
therefore,  never  ceased.  The  older  texts  continued  to  be 
interpolated  until  their  antiquity  at  last  threw  such  a  halo 
of  holiness  around  them  that  it  was  considered  impious 
to  tamper  with  their  words.  Other  texts  of  a  similar 
character  were  composed,  which  in  course  of  time  came 
to  receive  as  much  reverence  as  the  more  ancient  collec 
tion.  Far  down  into  Semitic  times,  exorcisms  and  incan 
tations  continued  to  be  written,  and  to  receive  the  impri 
matur  of  the  official  priesthood.  They  even  entered  largely 
into  the  ritual  of  the  temples.  But  the  sanctity  attached 
to  them  became  fainter  and  fainter  as  years  went  on. 
Although  the  sorcerer  maintained  his  ground  among  the 
uneducated  multitude,  like  the  witch  in  modern  times, 
the  spells  with  which  he  served  himself  were  simply 
means  for  curing  the  bite  of  a  scorpion,  and  such-like 
necessities  of  popular  medicine.  They  were  dissociated 
from  the  worship  of  the  gods  and  degraded  to  vulgar 
uses.  Even  in  medicine  the  cultivated  Babylonian  gen 
tlemen  preferred  to  employ  the  drugs  prescribed  by 
scientific  practitioners ;  the  spells  were  left  to  the  igno 
rant  and  superstitious.  The  old  collections  of  magical 
texts,  indeed,  remained  among  the  sacred  books  of  the 
nation ;  but  this  was  on  account  of  their  antiquity,  and 
not  because  they  any  longer  expressed  the  religious 
feelings  of  the  day.  The  litany  at  the  end  of  the  peniten- 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALDyEA.  339 

tial  psalms  marks  the  beginning  of  a  new  era  in  religious 

This  era  is  represented  by  the  hymns  to  the  gods.  Dr. 
Hommel  has  pointed  out  that  the  hymns  fall  into  two  main 
classes.  There  are,  firstly,  the  hymns  which  show  no 
trace  of  contact  with  the  magical  texts,  and,  secondly,  other 
hymns  which  are  either  partly  magical  in  character  or  else 
are  introduced  by  the  significant  word  en  (siptu\  "  incan 
tation."  These  latter  hymns  emanate  for  the  most  part 
from  Eridu  and  its  neighbourhood,  and  bring  Merodach 
before  us  as  carrying  out  the  behests  of  his  father  Ea  for 
the  good  of  man.  Most  of  them,  moreover,  are  dedicated 
to  those  older  divinities  who,  like  Gibil  the  fire-god,  were 
eclipsed  by  the  more  human  deities  of  the  later  cult. 
But  the  division  must  not  be  pressed  too  far.  The  intro 
ductory  en,  " incantation,"  merely  indicates  that  the  hymn 
is  of  sufficiently  early  date  to  be  incorporated  in  a  magical 
text,  or  that  it  was  selected  as  a  spell,  like  the  Lord's 
Prayer  or  the  fragments  of  Latin  which  have  served  the 
same  object  in  modern  times.  It  is  of  importance,  how 
ever,  to  observe  whether  the  hymn  is  of  a  semi-magical 
character,  like  that  to  the  Fire-god  which  I  have  quoted 
in  a  former  Lecture,  or  whether  it  was  originally  alto 
gether  independent  of  the  use  to  which  it  has  been  put. 
In  the  first  case,  we  may  confidently  assign  it  to  the  period 
when  Eridu  was  still  the  religious  capital  of  Chaldeea, 
and  the  faith  of  the  people  was  only  emerging  out  of  it3 
earlier  Shamanistic  phase.  In  the  other  case,  where  the 
hymn  itself  is  free  from  all  taint  of  magic  and  Shamanistic 
superstition,  we  may  as  confidently  ascribe  it  to  a  later 
date.  Its  precise  age  will  depend  upon  that  of  the  text 
in  which  it  is  embodied.  If  the  latter  is  one  of  those 


340  LECTURE    V. 

late  survivals  which  proved  how  deeply  rooted  the  belief 
in  magic  and  witchcraft  was  among  the  lower  strata  of  the 
population,  the  hymn  or  fragment  of  the  hymn  which  is 
incorporated  in  it  may  be  of  almost  any  period.    To  deter 
mine  its  age  more  exactly,  we  must  have  recourse  to  the 
language  in  which  it  is  written  and  the  other  indications 
of  date  it  may  contain.     Sometimes  these  may  point  to  an 
early  epoch,  at  other  times  to  a  comparatively  recent  one. 
The  hymns  to  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara  afford  a  fixed 
point  of  departure  for  settling  the  relative  antiquity  of 
the  hymns.     They  form  a  separate  class  by  themselves, 
and  were  part  of  the  daily  service  performed  by  the 
priests  in  the  temple  of  Samas.     It  is  plain,  therefore, 
that  they  had  been  collected  for  liturgical  use,  and  had 
been   invested  with   a   sacred   character.      There  were 
hymns  that  had  to  be  recited  at  sunrise  and  sunset,  or 
on  the  special  festivals  held  in  honour  of  the  god.     The 
individual  hymns  had  doubtless  been  composed  on  dif 
ferent  occasions  and  at  different  times,  and  it  is  possible 
that  they  had  been  revised  and  altered  more  than  once 
before  they  were  put  together  as  a  single  whole.     But 
whatever  may  have  been  the  respective  ages  of  the  indi 
vidual  hymns,   they  were  all  alike  of  Semitic   origin. 
They  all  belong  to  the  epoch  when  Sippara  and  Accad 
were  ruled  by  Semitic  princes,  and  were  a  centre  and 
focus  of  Semitic  influence.     It  is  true  that  the  hymns 
are  provided  with  an  Accadian  text,  which  is  followed, 
line  by  line,  by  the  Semitic  rendering,  as  is  the  case  with 
the  other  bilingual  texts  of  early  date.    But  it  is  equally 
true  that  the  Accadian  text  is  really  a  translation  of  the 
Semitic.     It  may  have  been  made  by  Accadian  scribes ; 
it  may  have  been  made,  and  more  probably  was  made, 

THE    SACKED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  341 

by  Semitic  scribes,  like  the  Accadian  texts  which  ema 
nated  from  the  library  of  Assur-bani-pal ;  but  it  is  not 
original.  The  Semitic  words  and  idioms  it  contains  bear 
witness  to  its  secondary  character.  There  is  only  one 
period  in  the  history  of  Sippara,  of  which  we  know,  to 
which  such  a  work  is  attributable.  This  is  the  age  of 
Sargon  and  his  son  Naram-Sin.  The  pie-Semitic  epoch 
of  northern  Babylonia  was  but  just  passing  away;  the 
sacred  texts,  the  hymns  to  the  gods,  the  older  incanta 
tions,  were  all  in  the  agglutinative  language  of  the  first 
inhabitants  of  the  country.  Though  the  ancient  Sun-god 
of  Sippara  had  become  the  Semitic  Samas,  it  was  natural 
to  suppose  that  he  would  be  better  pleased  with  the  lan 
guage  in  which  the  spirits  and  deities  of  ChaldaBa  had 
been  addressed  than  with  the  vulgar  speech  of  every-day 
life.  Like  the  monk  of  the  Middle  Ages,  accordingly, 
who  composed  his  prayers  and  hymns  in  Latin,  the  priest 
of  Samas  addressed  his  god  in  the  older  and  more  sacred 
tongue.  The  sentiment,  the  expression,  might  be  Semitic, 
but  the  form  in  which  it  must  be  clothed  before  it  could 
be  acceptable  to  the  divinity  was  Accadian. 

In  a  later  age  there  was  no  longer  the  same  strong 
motive  for  assimilating  the  hymns  to  the  Sun -god  to 
those  addressed  to  the  more  purely  Accadian  deities  of 
Babylonia.  The  Semitic  language  b.ecame  first  literary 
and  then  a  fit  vehicle  of  devotion.  Not  only  were  magical 
texts  written  in  it,  but  hymns  also,  without  any  endeavour 
to  render  them  into  the  obsolete  Accadian.  Assur-bani- 
pal,  antiquarian  as  he  was,  thinks  it  no  sin  to  publish 
hymns  to  Nebo  and  Samas  in  Semitic  only,  and  the  in 
vocations  addressed  to  the  gods  by  Nebuchadnezzar  and 
his  successors  are  in  the  same  Semitic  language  as  the 

342  LECTURE    V. 

rest  of  their  inscriptions.  The  translation  of  the  hymns 
to  Samas  into  Accadian  presupposes  a  time  when  the 
Accadian  influence  was  still  powerful,  and  when  Accadian 
was  still  believed  to  be  the  language  of  the  gods. 

If,  then,  we  can  assign  the  hymns  to  Samas  of  Sippara 
to  the  age  of  Sargon  of  Accad,  it  becomes  more  easy  to 
find  an  approximate  date  for  the  hymns  to  the  other 
great  gods  of  Babylonia.  Like  the  hymns  to  Samas,  we 
must  suppose  them  to  have  belonged  to  different  col 
lections  employed  liturgically  in  the  chief  temples  of 
Chaldsea.  We  know,  indeed,  that  this  was  the  case  as 
regards  the  hymns  addressed  to  Bel-Merodach  of  Babylon. 
"With  few  exceptions  they  are  bilingual,  in  Accadian  and 
Semitic ;  and  in  the  larger  number  of  them  the  Accadian 
text  is  the  original.  Where  this  is  the  case,  and  the 
hymns  belong  to  the  sanctuaries  of  northern  Babylonia, 
we  may  consider  them  older  than  the  age  of  Sargon.  As 
the  ancient  language  of  the  country  continued  to  be 
spoken  in  southern  Babylonia  long  after  his  time,  the 
same  conclusion  cannot  be  drawn  in  regard  to  the  hymns 
employed  there,  but  it  is  probable  that  the  majority  of 
them  are  quite  as  early  as  those  of  the  north. 

How  far  they  have  come  down  to  us  in  their  original 
condition  and  form  it  is  hard  to  say.  In  some  instances 
we  can  show  that  they  have  been  modified  and  interpo 
lated,  and  analogy  would  lead  us  to  suppose  that  such 
was  generally  the  case.  Nor  is  it  possible  to  determine 
at  present  whether  the  collections  of  sacred  hymns  used 
in  the  different  temples  of  Babylonia  were  formed  into  a 
single  whole,  and  thus  constituted  a  sort  of  Babylonian 
Big- Veda,  as  Lenormant  conjectured.  It  is  very  probable, 
however,  that  the  unification  of  the  country  brought  with 

THE    SACRED   BOOKS    OF    CHALD.EA.  343 

it  a  unification  of  the  sacred  books  used  in  its  several 
temples,  and  that  the  copies  of  the  hymns  we  possess 
were  not  made  by  the  scribes  of  Assur-bani-pal  from 
the  hymn-books  of  different  sanctuaries,  but  from  a  com 
mon  hymn-book  in  which  the  special  collections  had  been 
grouped  together. 

At  the  same  time,  if  such  a  common  hymn-book  ever 
existed,  it  must  have  contained  selections  only  from  the 
hymn-books  of  the  individual  sanctuaries.  One  of  the 
few  hymns  to  Nergal,  for  instance,  which  we  possess, 
was,  we  are  told,  copied  from  the  service-book  of  Cutha,1 
and  this  is  by  no  means  an  isolated  example  of  the  kind. 
On  the  other  hand,  the  hymns — or  more  usually  the 
fragments  of  hymns — which  are  incorporated  in  the 
magical  texts,  perhaps  imply  the  existence  of  a  sacred 
volume  which  was  in  common  use  among  the  priestly 
schools  of  Babylonia.  This  is  a  point  which  it  must  be 
left  to  future  research  to  decide. 

But  whether  or  not  such  an  authorised  collection  of 
hymns  existed  for  the  whole  of  Chaldasa,  it  is  certain 
that  a  considerable  number  of  the  hymns  were  composed 
when  the  chief  cities  of  Babylonia  and  their  presiding 
deities  had  been,  as  it  were,  confederated  together.  The 
matter  is,  indeed,  complicated  by  our  ignorance  of  the 
extent  to  which  the  hymns  have  been  altered  and  inter 
polated  before  their  present  text  was  finally  fixed;  on 
the  whole,  however,  it  seems  pretty  evident  that  Ana, 
Mul-lil  and  Ea,  had  already  been  linked  together  in  a 
divine  brotherhood,  and  that  the  other  "great  gods" 
had  been  assigned  their  places  in  a  common  pantheon, 

1  K5268,  Rev.  12. 

344  LECTURE    V. 

before  a  considerable  proportion  of  the  hymns  had  been 
composed.  A  distinct  advance  had  thus  been  made 
beyond  the  religious  conceptions  of  the  litany  of  the 
penitential  psalms ;  not  only  are  the  gods  of  different 
cities  invoked  side  by  side,  but  they  are  now  connected 
together  in  the  bonds  of  a  single  family.  The  family 
system,  in  fact,  has  taken  the  place  of  a  system  of  mere 

Now  the  family  system  implies  an  entire  change  in 
the  conception  of  the  gods  themselves.  They  cease  to 
be  creators;  they  become  fathers  and  children.  Along 
with  this  change  necessarily  goes  another.  The  gods 
become  human.  The  last  vestiges  of  primitive  totemism 
fade  away,  and  Merodach  is  no  longer  "the  bull  of 
light,"  the  son  of  "  the  antelope  of  the  deep,"  but  an 
anthropomorphic  god,  standing  in  the  same  relation  to 
Ea  that  a  human  son  stands  to  his  human  father.  Baby 
lonian  religion  had  long  been  tending  to  regard  the  gods 
as  supernatural  men ;  the  introduction  of  the  family 
relation  completed  the  work. 

The  work,  however,  in  its  final  form  bears  clear  marks 
of  artificiality.  The  whole  family  system,  in  which  the 
deities  of  different  states  are  each  given  a  definite  posi 
tion,  must  have  been  deliberately  built  up.  Family 
relationships  may  grow  up  naturally  among  the  divinities 
worshipped  in  the  same  locality  or  in  the  colonies  sent 
out  by  a  mother- state ;  where  these  relationships  are 
found  existing  among  divinities,  originally  independent 
and  each  adored  as  supreme  in  its  own  primitive  seat  of 
worship,  they  must  belong  to  an  artificial  system,  and 
be  the  product  of  intentional  arrangement.  Eeligion,  in 
the  hands  of  its  official  representatives  in  Chaldeea,  had 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  345 

not  only  passed  out  of  the  sphere  of  simple  and  spon 
taneous  belief,  it  had  become  organised  and  reflective — 
a  subject  to  be  discussed  and  analysed,  to  be  arranged 
and  methodised. 

Can  all  this  have  been  the  natural  and  uninterrupted 
development  of  the  old  pre-Semitic  Shamanism  ?  With 
Francois  Lenormant,  I  think  not.  Between  the  religion 
of  the  magical  texts,  of  the  earlier  semi-magical  hymns 
and  of  the  litanies  on  the  one  side,  and  the  religion  of 
the  later  hymns  on  the  other,  there  seems  to  me  to  be 
an  almost  impassable  gulf,  which  can  be  bridged  over 
only  by  the  assumption  of  an  intrusive  foreign  element. 
What  this  element  must  have  been  we  know  already. 
The  Semitic  nomads  of  the  western  desert  in  the  days 
of  their  barbarism  had  come  into  contact  with  the  cul 
tured  kingdoms  and  people  of  the  valley  of  the  Euphrates. 
At  first  they  were  content  to  be  pupils ;  eventually  they 
became  masters  themselves.  The  amalgamation  of  the 
two  races  produced  the  Babylonian  population  of  later 
times,  and  along  with  it  the  history,  the  civilisation  and 
the  religion  of  a  subsequent  era.  Berossos  expressly  notes 
that  Babylonia  was  the  home  of  different  races ;  he  might 
have  added  that  it  was  the  home  also  of  different  faiths. 

The  Semite  sat  at  the  feet  of  his  Accadian  Gamaliel 
when  the  crude  Shamanism  of  the  latter  had  passed  into 
a  higher  phase  of  religion,  and  the  creator-gods  had  been 
evolved  out  of  the  spirits  of  the  earlier  creed.  He  adopted 
the  gods,  but  at  the  same  time  he  adapted  them  to  his 
own  notions  concerning  the  divine  government  of  the 
world.  They  became  Baalim,  so  many  manifestations  of 
the  supreme  deity  whose  children  we  are,  and  who  exhi 
bits  himself  to  us  in  the  solar  energy.  The  old  goddesses, 

346  LECTURE   Y. 

with  the  exception  of  Istar,  sank  to  the  rank  of  Ash- 
taroth  and  "  mistresses  of  the  gods,"  mere  companions 
and  doubles  of  the  male  divinity. 

Now,  as  I  have  already  tried  to  point  out,  the  key 
stone  of  Semitic  belief  was  the  generative  character  of 
the  deity.  A  language  which  divided  nouns  into  mascu 
lines  and  f eminines,  found  it  difficult  to  conceive  of  a  deity 
which  was  not  masculine  and  feminine  too.  The  divine 
hierarchy  was  necessarily  regarded  as  a  family,  at  the 
head  of  which  stood  "  father  Bel."  If  the  gods  of  Accad 
were  to  be  worshipped  by  the  Semite,  they  must  first 
conform  to  the  requirements  of  his  religious  conceptions, 
and  allow  themselves  to  be  grouped  together  as  members 
of  a  single  family.  All  that  stood  outside  the  family 
were  servants  and  slaves — the  hosts  of  heaven  and  earth 
who  performed  the  behests  of  their  masters,  and  carried 
the  messages  of  Baal  to  all  parts  of  the  universe.  The 
rest  of  the  supernatural  world,  if  such  existed,  was  rele 
gated  to  the  domain  of  the  enemy;  it  comprised  the 
empire  of  chaos  and  night,  which,  like  the  gods  of  foreign 
nations,  might  at  times  invade  the  realms  of  the  Baalim, 
only,  however,  to  be  beaten  back  once  more  into  the 
outer  darkness.  The  empire  of  chaos,  however,  was 
really  a  stranger  to  genuine  Semitic  belief;  it  was  a 
legacy  left  by  the  Accadians,  which  was  assimilated  and 
adapted  by  the  Semites  as  best  they  could.  Where  the 
Semitic  faith  existed  in  its  full  purity,  Satan,  the  adver 
sary,  himself  was  but  an  angel  and  minister  of  the  Lord, 
and  the  supreme  god  was  the  creator  alike  of  good  and 
evil,  of  light  and  darkness. 

The  rise  of  Sun-worship  at  Sippara,  the  prominence 
given  to  the  solar  element  in  Babylonian  religion  gene- 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  347 

rally,  the  obliteration  of  the  older  gods  whose  attributes 
could  not  be  harmonised  with  those  of  a  Sun-god,  and 
the  identification  of  deity  after  deity  with  the  solar  Baal, 
was  again  the  result  of  the  introduction  of  Semitic  ideas 
into  the  religion  of  Chaldasa.  Perhaps  the  most  striking- 
transformation  eyer  undergone  by  any  object  of  religious 
faith  was  the  conversion  of  Mul-lil,  the  lord  of  the  ghost- 
world,  into  a  Bel  or  Baal,  the  god  of  light  and  life. 
Such  a  transformation  could  not  have  been  produced 
naturally ;  it  needed  the  grafting  of  new  religious  con 
ceptions  upon  an  older  cult ;  it  is  a  sudden  change,  not 
a  development. 

Equally  hard  to  explain,  except  by  calling  in  the  aid 
of  a  foreign  religious  element,  is  the  degradation  of  the 
spirits  of  the  primitive  faith  into  demons.  We  have 
traced  the  process  whereby  certain  of  these  spirits  deve 
loped  into  deities,  while  others  of  them  were  invested 
with  a  distinctly  malevolent  character ;  but  they  are  not 
yet  demons.  The  evil  spirits  who  brought  disease  or 
caused  eclipse  might  be  the  brood  of  chaos,  and  therefore 
hostile  to  the  gods  of  light ;  but  they  were  all  the  subjects 
of  Mul-lil,  and  even  of  the  sorcerer  and  the  medicine 
man.  It  was  the  necessity  the  Semite  was  under  of 
accommodating  his  beliefs  to  the  doctrine  of  an  empire 
of  chaos  that  turned  them  into  veritable  demons,  work 
ing  for  evil  against  the  gods  in  a  world  of  evil  of  their 
own.  Persian  dualism  was  no  new  thing  in  Babylonia ; 
the  gods  of  good  and  the  spirits  of  evil  had  been  struggling 
there  one  against  the  other  since  the  remote  days  of 
Sargon  of  Accad.1 

1  Nothing  can  be  more  striking  than  the  following  expression  in  a 
prayer  to  "  Ea,  Samas  and  Merodach,  the  great  god?,  the  supreme 

348  LECTURE   V. 

In  what  precedes  I  have,  of  course,  been  describing 
only  the  official  religion  of  Babylonia,  as  it  is  known  to 
us  from  the  sacred  literature  of  the  country.  It  was 
the  religion  of  the  upper  classes,  of  the  priesthood  and  of 
the  court.  What  the  mass  of  the  people  may  have  be 
lieved,  and  how  far  they  may  have  participated  in  the 
official  cult,  we  can  only  guess.  The  later  magical  texts 
and  incantations  were  condescensions  to  their  necessities 
and  superstitions,  like  the  legends  of  the  gods  which 
formed  the  subject-matter  of  popular  poetry.  The  differ 
ences  that  exist  to-day  between  the  creed  of  a  Spanish 
peasant  and  that  of  a  scientific  savant  are  not  greater 
than  those  which  existed  in  Babylonia  of  old  between 
the  religion  of  the  multitude  and  that  of  the  school  which 
resolved  the  divinities  of  the  popular  theology  into  forms 
of  the  one  supreme  god. 

The  magical  texts  and  hymns  were  not  the  only  sacred 
books  possessed  by  the  Babylonians.  There  was  yet  a 
third  class  of  sacred  literature — those  penitential  psalms 
to  which  I  have  so  often  alluded.  The  litany  frequently 
attached  to  them  belongs,  as  we  have  seen,  to  the  pre- 
Semitic  epoch,  though  it  has  been  altered  from  time  to 
time  in  later  ages.  The  litany,  however,  is  not  written, 
like  the  magical  texts  and  the  majority  of  the  hymns,  in 
the  Sumerian  dialect  of  the  south,  but  in  the  Accadian 
of  the  north.  Dr.  Hommel  is  perfectly  right  in  calling 
the  Accadian  of  the  north  neo-Sumerian ;  it  represents 
the  Sumerian  of  the  early  texts  in  an  advanced  stage  of 

powers  who  establish  the  ban," — "  the  sins  of  my  father  and  my  mother 
I  saw  not  ([sd]abi-ya  u  ummi-ya  khidati  ul  amrd)  .  .  .  from  darkness  I 
stepped  forth  and  (became)  the  soldier  of  Samas"  (ultu  edhuti  utsav-va 
tsab  Samas  [assaJd?i]))  E  278,  Obv.  7 — 9. 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^EA.  349 

decay.  But  this  does  not  prove  that  it  was  spoken  at  a 
later  period  than  the  Sumerian  of  the  south,  or  that  it  is 
the  direct  descendant  of  the  latter  dialect.  There  were 
several  dialects  of  the  Accadian  or  pre-Semitic  language 
of  Chaldaea ;  one  of  these  gave  rise  to  the  Accadian  of 
northern  Babylonia  at  a  time  when  the  Sumerian  dialect 
in  the  south  still  preserved  its  pristine  purity.  What 
hastened  the  decay  of  the  northern  dialect  was  its  contact 
with  Semitic.  The  Semites  established  themselves  in 
the  northern  part  of  the  country  long  before  they  settled 
in  the  south.  The  kingdom  of  Sargon  rose  and  waned 
at  Accad  more  than  a  thousand  years  before  Sumerian 
dynasties  ceased  to  rule  in  the  southern  cities.  It  is  not 
strange,  therefore,  if  the  Accadian  of  the  north  decayed 
long  before  its  sister  dialect  of  Eridu,  borrowing  at  the 
same  time  Semitic  words  and  modes  of  expression.  It 
is  in  this  Accadian  of  the  north  that  the  penitential 
psalms  are  written.  They  belong  neither  to  the  same  age 
nor  to  the  same  city.  But  they  are  all  distinguished  by 
the  same  characteristics,  which  lend  to  them  a  striking 
resemblance  to  the  Psalms  of  the  Old  Testament.  Let  us 
take  one,  for  example,  which  has  been  preserved  to  us  in 
a  fairly  complete  condition : l 

"The  heart  of  my  lord  is  wroth;  may  it  be  appeased  !2 
May  the  god  whom  I  know  not  be  appeased ! 
May  the  goddess3  whom  I  know  not  be  appeased ! 
May  the  god  I  know  and  (the  god)  I  know  not  be  appeased ! 

1  W.A.I.  4,  10.     Zimmern's  Busspsalmen,  pp.  61  sq. 

2  Literally,  "return  to  its  place." 

3  The  Assyrian  translation  here  has  Istar  instead  of  Istarit,  -which 
indicates  its  antiquity.     The  expression  "whom  I  know  not"  means 
"whose  name  I  know  not."     The  author  of  the  psalm  is  uncertain  as 
to  the  particular  god  who  has  punished  him. 

350  LECTURE   Y. 

May  the  goddess  I  know  and  (the  goddess)  I  know  not  be  ap 
peased  ! 

May  the  heart  of  my  god  be  appeased  ! 

May  the  heart  of  my  goddess  be  appeased  ! 

May  the  god  and  the  goddess  I  know  and  I  know  not  be  appeased  ! 

May  the  god  who  (has  been  violent  against  me)  be  appeased) ! 

May  the  goddess  (who  has  been  violent  against  me  be  appeased) ! 

The  sin  that  (I  sinned  I)  knew  not. 

The  sin  (that  I  committed  I  knew  not). 

A  name  of  blessing  (may  my  god  pronounce  upon  me). 

A  name  of  blessing  (may  the  god  I  know  and  know  not)  record 
for  me. 

A  name  of  blessing  (may  the  goddess  I  know  and  know  not)  pro 
nounce  upon  me). 

(Pure)  food  I  have  (not)  eaten. 

Clear  water  I  have  (not)  drunk. 

The  cursed  thing1  of  my  god  unknowingly  did  I  eat ; 

The  cursed  thing  of  my  goddess  unknowingly  did  I  trample  on. 

0  lord,  my  sins  are  many,  my  transgressions  are  great ! 

O  my  god,  my  sins  are  many,  my  transgressions  are  great ! 

0  my  goddess,  my  sins  are  many,  my  transgressions  are  great ! 

O  god  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not,  my  sins  are  many, 
my  transgressions  are  great ! 

0  goddess  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not,  my  sins  are  many, 
my  transgressions  are  great ! 

The  sin  that  I  sinned  I  knew  not. 

The  transgression  I  committed  I  knew  not. 

The  cursed  thing  that  I  ate  I  knew  not. 

The  cursed  thing  that  I  trampled  on  I  knew  not. 

The  lord  in  the  wrath  of  his  heart  has  regarded  me ; 

God  in  the  fierceness  of  his  heart  has  revealed  himself  to  me. 

The  goddess  has  been  violent  against  me  and  has  put  me  to  grief. 

The  god  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not  has  distressed  me. 

The  goddess  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not  has  inflicted 

1  The  Assyrian  ikkib,  as  Mr.  Pinches  has  pointed  out,  is  borrowed 
from  the  Accadian  iv-giba,  "  what  is  harmful."  Ziinmern  quotes  Haupt's 
Texts,  p.  119  (6  sq.),  "the  handmaid  eateth  the  cursed  thing,  she  has 
committed  the  cursed  thing."  We  may  compare  the  words  of  Gen. 
ii.  17,  "in  the  day  that  thou  eatest  thereof  thou  shalt  surely  die." 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD^A.  351 

I  sought  for  help  and  none  took  my  hand ; 

I  wept  and  none  stood  at  my  side  ; 

I  cried  aloud  and  there  was  none  that  heard  me. 

I  am  in  trouble  and  hiding ;  I  dare  not  look  up. 

To  my  god,  the  merciful  one,  I  turn  myself,  I  utter  my  prayer ; 

The  feet  of  my  goddess  I  kiss  and  water  with  tears.1 

To  the  god  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not  I  utter  my  prayer. 

0  lord,  look  upon  (me ;  receive  my  prayer  !) 

O  goddess,  look  upon  (me ;  accept  my  prayer  !) 

0  god  whom  I  know  (and  whom  I  know  not,  accept  my  prayer !) 

O  goddess  whom  I  know  (and  whom  I  know  not,  accept  my 

prayer  !) 

How  long,  0  god,  (shall  I  suffer  1) 

How  long,  0  goddess,  (shall  thy  face  be  turned  from  me  ?) 
How  long,  0  god  whom  I  know  and  know  riot,  shall  the  fierceness 

(of  thy  heart  continue  ?) 
How  long,  0  goddess  whom  I  know  and  know  not,  shall  thy 

heart  in  its  hostility  be  [not]  appeased  1 
Mankind  is  made  to  wander  and  there  is  none  that  knoweth. 
Mankind,  as  many  as  pronounce  a  name,  what  do  they  know  ? 
Whether  he  shall  have  good  or  ill,  there  is  none  that  knoweth. 
0  lord,  destroy  not  thy  servant ! 

When  cast  into  the  water  of  the  ocean  (?)  take  his  hand. 
The  sins  I  have  sinned  turn  to  a  blessing. 

The  transgressions  I  have  committed  may  the  wind  carry  away. 
Strip  off  my  manifold  wickednesses  as  a  garment. 
O  my  god,  seven  times  seven  are  my  transgressions ;  forgive  my 

sins  ! 
0  my  goddess,  seven  times  seven  are  my  transgressions  ;  forgive 

my  sins  ! 
0  god  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not,  seven  times  seven 

are  my  transgressions ;  forgive  my  sins  ! 
0  goddess  whom  I  know  and  whom  I  know  not,  seven  times  seven 

are  my  transgressions  ;  forgive  my  sins  ! 
Forgive  my  sins ;  may  thy  ban  be  removed.2 

1  See  W.  A.  I.  v.  19.  35—38  ;  20.  55  ;  ii.  21.  53  ;  24.  45. 

2  Zimmern  has  mistaken  the  meaning  of  this  passage.     In  W.  A.  I 
iv.  12.  32,  33,  sa-mun-6iUalil  is  rendered  unakkaru.    KA-TAR  (perhaps 
pronounced  Itus)  is  "spoken  judgment,"  "excommunication  ;"  thus  in 

352  LECTUKE    V. 

May  thy  heart  be  appeased  as  the  heart  of  a  mother  who  has  borne 

As  a  mother  who  has  borne  children,  as  a  father  who  has  begotten 

them,  may  it  be  appeased  ! 

COLOPHON. — Psalm  of  65  lines  ;  a  tablet  for  every  god. 
Its  repetition  ensures  my  peace.2 
Like  its  original  copied  and  published  :  palace  of  Assur-bani-pal, 

king  of  legions,  king  of  Assyria." 

It  is  only  necessary  to  read  the  psalm  to  see  in  it 
distinct  traces  of  contact  on  the  part  of  the  Accadians 
with  Semitic  thought.  The  god  cannot  be  addressed 
alone ;  the  goddess  necessarily  stands  at  his  side.  The 
introspection,  moreover,  which  the  psalm  reveals  is  hardly 
reconcilable  with  the  religious  conceptions  presupposed 
by  the  magical  texts  and  the  earlier  hymns.  The  con 
sciousness  of  sin  is  a  new  feature  in  Chaldean  religion, 
and  belongs  to  the  age  that  saw  the  rise  of  poems  like 
that  on  the  Deluge,  which  ascribed  the  sufferings  of  man 
kind  to  their  wrong-doing.  Hitherto  the  evil  that  existed 
in  the  world  had  not  been  given  a  moral  significance. 
It  was  due  to  the  action  of  malevolent  spirits  or  the 
decrees  of  inexorable  fate  rather  than  to  the  wickedness 
of  man,  and  it  was  removed  by  spells  and  ceremonies 
which  occasioned  the  interference  of  the  god  of  wisdom 
and  his  son  Merodach.  At  most,  it  was  considered  a 
punishment  for  offences  against  the  divine  order  of  the 

1253.  Rev.  1,  2,  we  have  ina  KA-GA-ka  lu-ub(K.u)-ludJi  KA-TAR-ZU  KA 
libbi-ka  lusapi,  "  by  thy  word  may  I  live  ;  may  I  honour  thy  command 
ment,  the  word  of  thy  heart."  In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  29, 16 — 18,  dalali,  "  exal 
tation"  (not  "  subject"),  is  the  equivalent  of  the  Accadian  UB  (for  which 
see  ii.  35,  36,  dri  =  tanittu,  "exaltation"). 

2  This  is  the  conclusion  of  the  original  Accadian  colophon.  TLo 
next  line  is  in  Assyrian,  and  was  added  by  the  scribes  of  Assur-bani- 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD.EA.  353 

world,  like  the  punishments  inflicted  by  human  judges 
for  disobedience  to  the  laws.  Unassisted  by  intercourse 
with  Semitic  belief,  Accadian  religion  never  advanced 
beyond  the  idea  of  vicarious  punishment,  which  grew 
out  of  the  doctrine  of  primitive  society  that  demands  an 
eye  for  an  eye  and  a  tooth  for  a  tooth.  It  is  a  doctrine 
that  lies  at  the  root  of  the  institution  of  sacrifice,  and  it 
marks  the  high  tide  of  Accadian  faith  before  the  Semite 
appeared  upon  the  stage. 

Along  with  these  indications  of  Semitic  influence, 
however,  the  psalm  bears  equally  clear  evidence  of  its 
Accadian  origin.  The  consciousness  of  sin  is  still  but 
rudimentary ;  the  psalmist  knows  that  one  of  the  gods  is 
angry  with  him  because  he  is  suffering  pain.  He  has 
eaten  what  has  been  cursed  by  heaven,  or  else  has  un 
wittingly  trampled  on  the  forbidden  thing.  In  the 
language  of  the  Polynesians,  he  has  touched  what  is 
tabooed,  and  the  curse  of  heaven  accordingly  falls  upon 
him.  Even  when  he  speaks  of  his  transgressions,  he  falls 
into  the  language  of  the  old  magical  texts '  his  sins  are 
seven  times  seven,  that  mystical  number  which  was  so 
closely  connected  with  the  spirits  of  earth.  The  belief 
in  the  mysterious  power  of  names,  moreover,  is  still 
strong  upon  him.  In  fear  lest  the  deity  he  has  offended 
should  not  be  named  at  all,  or  else  be  named  incorrectly, 
he  does  not  venture  to  enumerate  the  gods,  but  classes 
them  under  the  comprehensive  title  of  the  divinities  with 
whose  names  he  is  acquainted  and  those  of  whose  names 
he  is  ignorant.  It  is  the  same  when  he  refers  to  the 
human  race.  Here,  again,  the  ancient  superstition  about 
words  shows  itself  plainly.  If  he  alludes  to  mankind,  it 

2  A 

354  LECTURE    V. 

is  to  "  mankind  as  many  as  pronounce  a  name,"  as  many, 
that  is,  as  have  names  which  may  be  pronounced. 

We  must,  then,  regard  the  penitential  psalms  as  origi 
nating  in  the  Accadian  epoch,  but  at  a  time  when  the 
Accadian  population  was  already  profoundly  influenced 
by  Semitic  ideas.  This  agrees  well  with  the  language 
and  contents  of  the  psalms  themselves.  They  all  belong 
to  northern  Babylonia,  more  especially  to  Erech  and 
Nipur.  Eut  there  is  no  reference  in  them  to  Sippara 
and  its  Sun-god,  no  trace  of  acquaintanceship  with  the 
empire  of  Sargon.  It  would  therefore  seem  that  they 
mount  back  to  an  earlier  date  than  the  rise  of  the  city  of 
Accad,  and  may  consequently  be  placed  midway  between 
the  older  hymns  and  those  which  were  composed  in 
honour  of  the  Sun-god. 

But  just  as  the  sacred  hymns  were  constantly  added 
to,  new  hymns  being  introduced  into  the  ancient  collec 
tions  perhaps  as  late  as  the  time  of  Assur-bani-pal,  so, 
too,  the  number  of  the  penitential  psalms  was  increased 
from  time  to  time.  At  first  the  additions  were  in  Acca 
dian;  afterwards  they  were  written  in  Semitic  only, 
the  character  of  the  psalm  being  at  the  same  time  con 
siderably  changed.  "Vain  repetitions"  were  avoided, 
and  the  psalm  was  more  and  more  assimilated  in  form  to 
a  prayer;  on  the  other  hand,  forms  of  expression  were 
borrowed  from  the  semi-magical  hymns  of  Eridu,  and 
a  stronger  element  of  superstition  gradually  entered  into 
the  composition  of  it.  Here,  for  example,  is  a  fragment 
which  I  have  elsewhere  termed  a  prayer  after  a  bad 
dream,  but  which  Dr.  Zimmern,  perhaps  more  correctly, 
would  entitle  a  psalm.  The  tablet  which  contains  it  is 


broken,  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  prayer  or  psalm 
being  consequently  lost.1 

"  0  my  god  who  art  violent  (against  me),  receive  (my  supplication). 
0  my  goddess,  thou  who  art  fierce  (towards  me),  accept  (my  prayer). 
Accept  my  prayer,  (may  thy  liver  be  quieted). 
0  my  lord,  long-suffering  (and)  merciful,  (may  thy  heart  be  ap 

By  day,  directing  unto  death  that  which  destroys  me,2  0  my  god, 
interpret  (the  vision). 

0  my  goddess,  look  upon  me  and  accept  my  prayer. 

May  my  sin  be  forgiven,  may  my  transgression  be  cleansed. 

Let  the  yoke  be  unbound,  the  chain  be  loosed. 

May  the  seven  winds  carry  away  my  groaning. 

May  I  strip  off  my  evil  so  that  the  bird  bear  (it)  up  to  heaven. 

May  the  fish  carry  away  my  trouble,  may  the  river  bear  (it)  along. 

May  the  reptile  of  the  field  receive  (it)  from  me ;  may  the  waters 

of  the  river  cleanse  me  as  they  flow. 
Make  me  shine  like  a  mask  of  gold. 
May  I  be  precious  in  thy  sight  as  a  goblet  (?)  of  glass. 
Burn  up  (?)  my  evil,  knit  together3  my  life ;  bind  together  thy  altar 

that  I  may  set  up  thine  image. 

Let  me  pass  from  my  evil,  and  let  me  be  kept  with  thee. 
Enlighten  me  and  let  me  dream  a  favourable  dream. 
May  the  dream  that  I  dream  be  favourable ;  may  the  dream  that 

I  dream  be  established. 

Turn  the  dream  that  I  dream  into  a  blessing. 
May  Makhir  the  god  of  dreams  rest  upon  my  head. 
Yea,  let  me  enter  into  E-Sagil,  the  palace  of  the  gods,  the  temple 

of  life. 
To  Merodach,  the  merciful,  to  blessedness,  to  prospering  hands, 

entrust  me. 

Let  me  exalt  thy  greatness,  let  me  magnify  thy  divinity. 
Let  the  men  of  my  city  honour  thy  mighty  deeds." 

The  psalm  or  prayer,  it  will  be  seen,  was  composed 
by  a  native  of  Babylon,  and  probably  formed  part  of  the 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  66,  No.  2.  2  Pasdhi. 

8  Kutstsur /  we  may  read  (with  Zimmern)  utsur,  "  protect." 

2  A  2 

356  LECTURE    V. 

ritual  used  in  the  service  of  the  great  temple  of  Mero- 
dach.  In  any  case  it  could  hardly  have  been  included 
in  the  old  collection  of  penitential  psalms.  These  were 
written  in  Accadian,  and  it  is  not  probable  that  any  were 
admitted  among  them  whose  language  showed  plainly 
their  more  recent  date.  Assur-bani-pal  informs  us1  that 
after  putting  down  the  rebellion  of  his  brother,  the 
viceroy  of  Babylonia,  he  "  pacified  the  angry  gods  and 
wrathful  goddesses  with  a  public  prayer  (taJcrilti)  and  a 
penitential  psalm,  restoring  and  establishing  in  peace 
their  festivals,  which  had  been  discontinued,  as  they 
were  in  former  days."  As  the  word  for  penitential  psalm 
is  expressed  by  the  compound  ideograph  which  served 
to  denote  it  in  Accadian,  it  is  possible  that  on  the  occa 
sion  in  question  a  psalm  was  selected  from  the  ancient 
collection ;  but  it  is  also  possible  that  a  new  psalm  was 
composed  specially  for  the  event. 

That  such  special  compositions  were  not  unusual  among 
the  Assyrians  of  Assur-bani-pal' s  days,  is  proved  by  a 
hymn  or  prayer  on  behalf  of  the  king  which  the  compiler 
of  a  list  of  the  gods  in  the  chief  temples  of  Assyria  has 
added  to  his  catalogue.  It  seems  to  have  been  intended 
for  use  in  one  of  them.  Where  the  text  first  becomes 
legible,  the  hymn  reads  as  follows : 2 

"  Joy  of  heart,  production  of  purity,  production  of  enlightenment 
(sukattimtu),  the  explanation  of  what  is  revealed  and  concealed  (?), 
reveal  to  the  city  of  Assur ;  long  days  and  years  unending,  a  strong 
weapon,  a  reign  hereafter,  names  abundant  and  long,  first-born  who 
shall  be  rulers,  adjudge  to  the  king  my  lord  who  has  given  all  this  to  his 
gods.  Habitations  (?)  many  and  far-extended  adjudge  to  his  people  (?). 
As  a  man  may  he  live  and  be  at  peace.  Over  kings  and  princes  may 
he  exercise  wide  empire.  May  he  come  to  a  hoar  old  age.  For  the 

i  W.  A.  I.  v.  4,  88  sq.  2  W.  A.  I.  iii.  6G,  Rev.  6  sq. 


men  who  pronounce  these  prayers  may  the  land  of  the  silver  sky,1  oil 
unceasing  and  the  wine  of  blessedness,  be  their  food,  and  a  good  noon 
tide2  their  light.  Health  to  my  body  and  prosperity  is  my  prayer  to 
the  gods  who  dwell  in  the  land  of  Assyria." 

This  prayer  introduces  us  to  a  subject  without  a  dis 
cussion  of  which  no  description  of  a  religion  can  be  com 
plete.  What  were  the  views  about  a  future  life  enter 
tained  by  the  Babylonians  and  Assyrians?  "Was  their 
religion  intended  for  this  world  only,  to  avoid  evil  here 
and  to  live  happily,  or  did  they  look  forward  to  a  world 
beyond  the  grave,  with  joys  and  miseries  of  its  own? 
The  reference  to  "the  land  of  the  silver  sky"  in  the 
prayer  I  have  just  cited  would  seem  to  show  that  Assy 
rian  religion  was  neither  a  faith  which,  like  that  of  the 
Buddhist,  hoped  for  the  annihilation  of  consciousness, 
nor  yet  a  faith  which,  like  that  of  the  Greeks  of  old, 
saw  in  the  future  nothing  but  a  dreary  existence  in  a 
sunless  world,  a  passage  from  the  world  of  light  and 
life  to  the  darkness  and  the  night. 

But  this  conclusion  would  not  be  in  accordance  with 
the  testimony  of  the  older  texts.  The  incantations  and 
exorcisms,  the  semi-magical  hymns  of  Eridu,  limit  the 
horizon  of  their  view  to  the  present  life.  The  spirits 

1  We  may  compare  with  this  expression  a  phrase  in  a  small  fragment 

(R  528)  which  runs  :  "At  dawn  a  hymn  (KHIR)  before  Saraas four 

hymns  to  Ea  the  pure  god  of  the  land  of  the  (silver  ?)  sky  ....  (begin 
ning  with)  the  incantation  :  The  pure  seat." 

2  Kiriru,  allied  to  kararu,  rendered  AN-IZI,  "  divine  fire,"  in  W.  A.  I. 
iv.  15.  18,  19,  where  we  read,  "in  the  noon-tides  of  day  and  night"  (i.e. 
the  dead  of  night).     In  W.  A.  I.  ii.  47,  61,  AN-IZI  is  translated  urrut 
"  full  day,"  and  in  iii.  55.  49,  50,  as  Jensen  points  out,  we  have  the 
four  periods  of  the  day  enumerated  :  "  On  the  nineteenth  day  enter  in 
the  morning  the  presence  of  Bahu,  at  noon  (AN-IZI)  the  presence  of  tho 
supreme  god,  in  the  afternoon  the  presence  of  Eimmon  and  in  the 
evening  the  presence  of  Istar," 

358  LECTURE   V. 

with  whom  they  people  the  universe  are  to  be  dreaded 
or  praised  by  the  living  only.  The  pains  man  seeks  to 
remove,  the  blessings  he  asks  for,  all  cease  with  death. 
There  is  little  or  no  trace  of  any  thought  of  a  world 
beyond.  In  the  hymns,  it  is  true,  Merodach,  the  bene 
factor  of  the  human  race,  is  described  as  raising  the  dead 
to  life,  but  the  life  to  which  they  are  raised  is  the  life  of 
the  present  world.  Whatever  might  have  been  the  sense 
afterwards  attached  to  the  expression,  in  the  early  hymns 
it  means  nothing  more  than  a  belief  in  the  power  of 
spells  to  restore  the  dead  to  life.  The  recovery  of  the 
sick  was  considered  in  no  way  more  wonderful  than  a 
recovery  from  a  state  of  trance  or  from  death  itself ;  if 
the  god  of  wisdom  and  magic  could  effect  the  one,  he 
could  equally  effect  the  other. 

I  do  not  deny  that  the  primitive  Chaldsean  may  have 
believed  in  the  continuation  of  existence  after  death. 
The  belief  in  a  Mul-lil,  a  lord  of  the  ghost- world,  pre 
supposes  this.  The  lost  friends  who  returned  to  him  in 
his  dreams  would  have  assured  him  that  they  had  not 
vanished  utterly.  But  I  can  find  no  traces  of  ancestor- 
worship  in  the  early  literature  of  Chaldaea  which  has 
survived  to  us.  Whatever  views  the  Chaldsean  may  have 
entertained  about  the  ghost- world,  they  were  vague  and 
shadowy ;  it  was  a  subterranean  region,  inhabited  for  the 
most  part  by  spirits  who  were  not  the  spirits  of  the  dead, 
but  of  the  objects  of  nature.  They  were  typified  by  the 
spirits  of  earth,  and  were  all  the  subjects  of  Mul-lil. 

The  ghost-world  of  Mpur  lay  beneath  the  earth.  It 
was  here  that  the  golden  throne  of  the  Anunas,  the 
spirits  of  earth,  was  erected,  hard  by  the  waters  of  life 
which  they  were  appointed  to  guard,  When  the  cult 

THE    SACKED    BOOKS   OF    CHALD.EA.  359 

of  Jaipur  and  the  cult  of  Eridu  were  united  into  one, 
this  underground  region  was  necessarily  connected  with 
the  great  ocean-stream  which  encircled  the  earth.  Here 
accordingly  was  placed  the  home  of  the  Aniinas,  and 
it  became  the  entrance  to  the  realm  of  Hades.  As 
primitive  Accadian  geography,  however,  identified  the 
Euphrates  and  the  Persian  Gulf  with  the  ocean- stream, 
the  approach  to  Hades  passed  into  Datilla,  the  river  of 
death  j1  and  Xisuthros,  the  hero  of  the  Deluge,  was  trans 
lated  to  dwell  among  the  gods  beyond  the  mouth  of  the 
Euphrates.2  This  was  the  land  set  apart  for  the  im 
mortal  deities  in  the  belief  of  the  people  of  Eridu,  for 
their  gods  were  gods  of  the  sea  whose  waters  washed 
their  shore.  The  unification  of  the  creeds  of  Mpur  and 
Eridu  thus  brought  with  it  an  identification  of  the  ghost- 
world  with  the  world  of  Ea,  of  the  empire  of  Mul-lil 
with  the  deep  over  which  Ea  ruled.  The  world  of  the 
ghosts  and  the  world  of  the  gods  were  accordingly  con 
founded  together,  the  distinction  between  them  being 
that  whereas  the  ghosts  were  still  left  in  their  subter 
ranean  abodes,  Mul-lil  was  elevated  to  the  world  above, 
there  to  dwell  with  Ea  and  his  son  Merodach,  the  god  of 
light.  But  this  upper  world  of  the  gods  was  immediately 
above  the  world  of  the  ghosts,  and  was  in  fact  the  passage 
into  it. 

This  theological  geography  is  perfectly  incompatible 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  62,  50.     "The  ship  of  the  river  Datilla  is  the  ship  of 
the  Lady  of  life  and  death." 

2  The  story  here  preserves  a  feature  of  the  original  myth.     In  the 
time  of  the  composition  of  the  poem,  the  seat  of  the  gods  was  regarded 
as  being  in  heaven,  so  that  the  author  of  the  Gisdhubar  epic,  Sin-liqi- 
annini,  has  admitted  a  contradiction  into  his  narrative. . 

360  LECTUBE    V. 

•with  another  theory  of  the  abode  of  the  gods,  which 
placed  it  on  the  summit  of  Kharsag-kurkura,  "  the  moun 
tain  of  the  world."  This  mountain  of  the  world  is  de 
clared  by  Sargon  to  be  the  mountain  of  Arallu  or  Hades  : 
"  The  gods  Ea,  Sin,  Samas,  Eimmon,  Adar  and  their 
august  wives,  who  were  truly  born  in  the  midst  of  the 
temple  of  Kharsag-kurkura,  the  mountain  of  Arallu,  have 
excellently  founded  glistering  sanctuaries  and  well- 
wrought  shrines  in  the  city  of  Dur-Sargon."1  Famous 
temples  were  named  after  it,  in  Assyria  at  all  events, 
and  its  site  was  sought  in  the  mountainous  region  of  the 
north-west.  An  old  geographical  table  tells  us  that 
Arallu  was  the  land  or  mountain  of  gold,2  a  statement 
which  reminds  us  of  the  words  of  Job  (xxxvii.  22),  "  Out 
of  the  north  cometh  gold,"  as  well  as  of  the  Greek  legend 
of  the  griffins  who  guarded  the  hidden  gold  in  the  distant 
north.  We  find  an  allusion  to  the  Babylonian  myth  in 
the  14th  chapter  of  Isaiah  (ver.  13).  There  the  Baby 
lonian  monarch  is  described  as  having  said  in  his  heart : 
"  I  will  ascend  into  heaven,  I  will  exalt  my  throne  above 
the  stars  of  El ;  I  will  sit  also  upon  the  mount  of  the 
assembly  (of  the  gods),  in  the  extremities  of  the  north ; 
I  will  ascend  above  the  heights  of  the  clouds ;  I  will  be 
like  the  Most  High."  Here,  in  this  Chaldsean  Olympos, 
the  gods  were  imagined  to  have  been  born  and  to  have 
their  seats ;  its  summit  was  hidden  by  the  clouds,  and 
the  starry  firmament  seemed  to  rest  upon  it.  It  is  pos 
sible  that  it  was  identified,  at  any  rate  in  later  times, 
with  the  mountain  on  which  the  ark  of  the  Chaldeean 

*  KLhors.  155  sq.   See  Delitzsch,  Wo  lay  das  Paradies,  pp.  117 — 122. 
2  W.A.I,  ii.  51.  11. 


Noah  rested,  "  the  mountain  of  Nizir,"  the  modern  Eo- 
wandiz.  Kowandiz  towers  high  above  its  fellows  in  the 
Kurdish  ranges,  and  the  Babylonian  might  well  believe 
that  its  peak  had  never  been  ascended  by  mortal  man. 
If  Xisuthros  had  touched  the  sacred  soil  with  his  ship, 
he  was  qualified  by  the  very  fact  to  take  his  place  amid 
"  the  assembly  of  the  gods." 

"The  mountain  of  the  world"  was  peculiarly  sacred 
among  the  Assyrians.  Perhaps  their  nearer  proximity 
to  the  great  mountainous  chains  of  the  north-west,  and 
their  distance  from  the  sea,  had  made  them  more  ready 
to  adopt  the  belief  which  placed  the  home  of  the  gods 
in  the  mountains  of  the  north  than  beside  the  waters  of 
the  Persian  Gulf.  It  is  difficult  to  tell  in  what  part  of 
Babylonia  the  belief  first  arose.  If  Kharsag-kalama,  "  the 
mountain  of  mankind,"  the  name  given  to  the  tower  of 
the  chief  temple  of  Kis,  is  the  same  as  "  the  mountain  of 
the  world,"  we  might  discover  its  cradle  in  the  neigh 
bourhood  of  Babylon.  It  will  be  remembered  that  in 
the  hymn  to  the  Fire-god  the  seven  spirits  of  earth  are 
declared  to  have  been  born  in  "  the  mountain  of  the  sun 
set,"  and  to  have  grown  up  "in  the  mountain  of  the  sun 
rise."  Here  the  sun  is  distinctly  regarded  as  rising  and 
setting  behind  a  mountain;  and  since  there  were  no  moun 
tains  on  the  western  side  of  the  Babylonian  plain,  we  must 
consider  the  poet  to  have  looked  upon  the  mountain 
behind  which  the  sun  rose  and  set  as  one  and  the  same.1 
During  the  hours  of  darkness  the  Sun-god  must  have 

1  I  have  assumed  that  the  poet's  horizon  was  bounded  by  the  plain 
of  Babylonia.  He  may,  however,  have  lived  after  the  Babylonians  had 
become  acquainted  with  Palestine,  and  "the  mountain  of  the  sunset" 
may  therefore  be  the  mountainous  land  of  Dhidhi  or  Phoenicia. 

362  LECTURE   V. 

been  supposed  to  have  journeyed  underneath  the  earth, 
traversing,  it  may  be,  the  realms  of  Hades  on  his  way. 
Whether  this  mountain,  which  thus  fringed,  as  it  were, 
the  sides  of  the  earth,  can  be  connected  with  "  the  moun 
tain  of  the  world,"  I  cannot  say.  In  any  case,  by  the 
side  of  a  belief  in  a  subterranean  Hades  and  a  paradise  of 
the  gods  beyond  the  mouth  of  the  Euphrates,  there  was 
also  a  belief  in  a  Hades  and  a  paradise  which  were  esta 
blished  on  the  loftiest  of  the  mountains  of  the  north. 

A  bilingual  Babylonian  hymn,  which  appears  to  have 
been  connected  with  Mpur  relates  to  the  latter  belief. 
It  is  thus  that  it  begins  : 1 

"  0  mighty  mountain  of  Mul-lil,  Im-kharsag  (the  mountain  sky), 
whose  head  rivals  the  heavens ;  the  pure  deep  has  been  laid 
as  its  foundation. 

Among  the  mountains  it  lies  like  a  strong  wild  bull. 

Its  horns  glisten  like  the  splendour  of  the  Sun-god. 

Like  the  star  of  heaven  that  proclaims  (the  day)  it  is  full  of  glit 
tering  rays. 

The  mighty  mother  Nin-lilli  (the  lady  of  the  ghost-world),  the 
reverence2  of  E-Sara  (the  temple  of  the  hosts  of  heaven),  the 
glory2  of  E-Kura  (the  temple  of  the  hosts  of  earth),  the  adorn 
ment  of  E-Giguna  (the  temple  of  the  city  of  darkness),  the 
heart  of  E-Ki-gusura  (the  temple  of  the  land  of  light)." 

In  this  hymn  the  world-tree  of  Eridu,  whose  roots  were 
planted  in  the  deep,  has  made  way  for  a  world-mountain, 
with  its  head  reaching  unto  heaven  like  the  tower  of 
Babel,  and  its  feet  planted  upon  the  deep.  As  the  con 
ception  of  the  world-tree  belonged  to  Sumir  or  southern 

1  W.  A.  I.  iv.  27,  No.  2. 

2  The  female  and  male  organs  of  generation  are  referred  to.     As  the 
word  for  "shame"  or  "reverence"  in  the  Accadian  text  is  the  Semitic 
uru,  the  text  must  either  belong  to  the  Semitic  period  or  have  been 
revised  by  Semitic  copyists. 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALD^EA.  363 

Babylonia,  so  the  conception  of  the  world-mountain 
belongs  to  Accad  or  northern  Babylonia ;  it  is  expressly 
termed  the  mountain  of  Mul-lil,  and  is  identified  with 
Mn-lil,  the  "reverence  of  E-Sara,"  whose  son  was  the 
Sun-god  Adar.  It  is  at  least  noticeable  that  one  of  the 
hymns  to  the  Sun-god  which  originated  at  Sippara  begins 
by  declaring  that  he  urose  from  the  mighty  mountain," 
"from  the  mountain  of  the  stream,"  "the  place  of  the 

The  introduction  of  an  Olympos  into  Babylonian  mytho 
logy  must  necessarily  have  modified  the  conception  of 
the  Chaldeean  Hades,  more  especially  when  we  find  that 
Mul-lil,  the  lord  of  the  ghost-world,  was  himself  asso 
ciated  with  it.  The  world  of  the  gods  was  separated 
from  the  abode  of  the  dead  j  the  latter  remained  below, 
while  the  gods  who  had  once  presided  there  ascended  to 
the  upper  world.  Their  places  were  taken  by  the  god 
Irkalla  and  the  goddess  Allat,  originally  mere  forms  of 
Mul-lil  and  Mn-lil,  but  now  distinguished  from  the  Bel 
and  Beltis  into  whom  Mul-lil  and  Mn-lil  had  been  trans 
formed.  The  addition  of  the  sky-god  of  Erech  to  the 
common  pantheon  of  Babylonia  still  further  tended  to 
divide  the  two  worlds.  The  Olympos  became  a  ladder 

1  W.A.I  v.  51,  1—6.  Can  "the  mountain  of  the  stream"  have 
any  reference  to  Gen.  ii.  10  ?  This  mountain  of  the  sun  is  described  in 
the  second  column  of  the  ninth  tablet  of  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar  (Haupt, 
Babylonische  Nimrodepos) :  "  When  he  arrived  at  the  twin  (mdsi) 
mountains,  where  day  by  day  they  guard  the  rising  (and  setting  of  the 
sun),  their  crown  (touched)  the  massy  vault  of  heaven,  below  their  foot 
ing  reached  to  (kasdat)  Hades;  scorpion-men  guard  its  gate,  whose  ter- 
ribleness  is  dread  and  their  appearance  death;  the  greatness  of  their 
splendour  overthrows  the  forests.  At  the  rising  of  the  sun  and  tho 
setting  of  the  sun  they  guard  the  Sun-god,  and  when  QHsdhubar  saw 
them,  fear  and  dread  took  possession  of  his  face." 

364  LECTURE    V. 

to  the  heavens  in  which  the  visible  deities  of  light — 
Samas,  Sin  and  Istar — ruled  over  the  visible  firmament, 
while  the  other  gods  dwelt  in  a  yet  more  remote  region 
of  the  universe,  "  the  heaven  of  Anu." 

This  is  the  point  at  which  the  religious  development 
of  Babylonian  belief  had  arrived  when  the  majority  of 
the  legendary  poems — or  at  least  the  older  portions  of 
them — were  composed.  Hades  is  still  the  gloomy  realm 
beneath  the  earth,  where  the  spirits  of  the  dead  flit  about 
in  darkness,  with  dust  and  mud  for  their  food  and  drink, 
and  from  whence  they  escape  at  times  to  feed  on  the 
blood  of  the  living.  Here  the  shades  of  the  great  heroes 
of  old  sit  each  on  his  throne,  crowned  and  terrible,  rising 
up  only  to  greet  the  coming  among  them  of  one  like  unto 
themselves.  The  passage  to  these  subterranean  abodes 
is  through  the  seven  gates  of  the  world,  each  guarded 
by  its  porter,  who  admits  the  dead,  stripping  him  of  his 
apparel,  but  never  allowing  him  to  pass  through  them 
again  to  the  upper  world.  Good  and  bad,  heroes  and 
plebeians,  are  alike  condemned  to  this  dreary  lot ;  a  state 
of  future  rewards  and  punishments  is  as  yet  undreamed 
of  y  moral  responsibility  ends  with  death.  Hades  is  a  land 
of  forgetfulness  and  of  darkness,  where  the  good  and  evil 
deeds  of  this  life  are  remembered  no  more ;  and  its  occu 
pants  are  mere  shadows  of  the  men  who  once  existed,  and 
whose  consciousness  is  like  the  consciousness  of  the 
spectral  figures  in  a  fleeting  dream.  The  Hades  of  the 
Babylonian  legends  closely  resembles  the  Hades  of  the 
Homeric  poems. 

But  side  by  side  with  this  pitiful  picture  of  the  world 
beyond  the  grave,  there  were  the  beginnings  of  higher 
and  nobler  ideas.  In  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar,  the  ghost  of 

THE    SACRED    BOOKS    OF    CHALD^EA.  365 

Ea-bani  is  described  as  rising  like  a  dust-cloud  from  the 
earth  and  mounting  up  to  heaven,  where  he  lives  among 
the  gods,  gazing  on  the  deeds  that  are  done  below. 

"  On  a  couch  he  reclines  and  pure  water  he  drinks.  He  who  is  slain 
in  battle,  thou  seest  and  I  see.  His  father  and  his  mother  (support) 
his  head ;  his  wife  addresses  the  corpse.  His  body  in  the  field  (is 
placed) ;  thou  seest  and  I  see.  His  ghost  in  the  earth  is  uncovered  ; 
of  his  ghost  he  has  no  overnight ;  thou  seest  and  I  see.  The  food  at 
the  edge  of  the  tomb  is  bewitched  (?) ;  the  food  which  is  thrown  into 
the  street  he  eats." 

Ea-bani,  however,  was  half  a  god.  Gisdhubar,  too, 
who  seems  to  be  associated  with  him  in  his  future  lot, 
was  half  divine.  If  while  E-bani  and  Gisdhubar  were 

thus  permitted  to 

"  live  and  lie  reclined 
On  the  hills,  like  gods  together,  careless  of  mankind," 

the  other  heroes  of  ancient  renown,  Ner  and  Etana,  were 
relegated  to  the  shades  below,  it  was  because  Ner  had 
once  been  Nergal,  the  prince  of  the  infernal  world,  and 
Etana  seems  to  be  the  Titan  of  Berossos  who  made  war 
against  Kronos  or  Ea.  But  when  the  semi-human  heroes 
of  epic  song  had  thus  been  permitted  to  enter  heaven,  it 
could  not  be  long  before  a  similar  permission  was  extended 
to  heroes  who  were  wholly  human.  Little  by  little,  as 
the  conception  of  the  gods  and  their  dwelling-place  became 
spiritualized,  "the  mountain  of  the  world"  passing  first 
into  the  sky  and  then  into  the  invisible  "  heaven  of  Ami," 
the  conception  of  the  future  condition  of  mankind  became 
spiritualised  also.  The  doctrine  of  the  immortality  of  the 
conscious  soul  began  to  dawn  upon  the  Babylonian  mind, 
and  along  with  it  necessarily  went  the  doctrine  of  rewards 
and  punishments  for  the  actions  committed  in  the  flesh. 
The  Babylonian  was  already  familiar  with  the  idea  of 
sacrifice  for  sin  and  of  vicarious  punishment;  all  that 

366  LECTURE    V. 

remained  was  to  enlarge  the  horizon  of  his  faith,  and  to 
extend  his  belief  in  the  divine  awards  for  piety  and  sin 
to  the  life  beyond  the  grave.  The  prayer  I  quoted  just 
now  from  the  compiler  of  the  list  of  the  gods  in  the 
Assyrian  temples,  proves  that  some  at  least  of  the  Assyro- 
Babylonian  people  asked  their  deities  for  something  more 
than  merely  temporal  blessings.  They  might  pray  that 
their  monarch  should  live  "a  hundred  years,771  but  they 
prayed  also  that  they  themselves  might  live  "for  ever" 
hereafter  in  "  the  land  of  the  silver  sky."  The  world- 
mountain  had  followed  the  fate  of  the  world- tree,  and 
been  consigned  to  the  mythologists  and  the  mytholo- 
gising  poets;  even  the  invisible  " heaven  of  Ann"  itself 
had  vanished  into  the  deep  blue  of  the  visible  firmament; 
above  and  beyond  them  all  was  the  true  home  of  the  gods 
and  the  spirits  of  the  blest,  a  home  towards  which  the 
smoke  of  the  altar  might  ascend,  but  into  whose  mysteries 
none  could  penetrate  till  death  and  the  grace  of  Baal  had 
freed  him  from  the  shackles  of  the  flesh. 

1  "While  60  was  the  numerical  unit  of  Accadian  literature,  the  Semitic 
Assyrians  made  100  their  standard  number.  The  stereotyped  form 
of  addressing  the  monarch  accordingly  was,  "A  hundred  years  to  the 
king  my  lord;  may  he  live  to  old  age;  may  offspring  be  multiplied  to 
the  king  my  lord  1"  (K  501,  12—16 ;  K  538,  13—16). 


MORE  than  once  I  have  had  to  allude  to  the  speculations 
the  Babylonians  indulged  in  regarding  the  origin  of  the 
world.  In  an  early  age  these  speculations  naturally 
assumed  a  theological  form.  As  the  elements  themselves 
were  regarded  as  divine,  or  at  any  rate  as  possessed  of  a 
divine  spirit,  their  source  and  shaping  must  have  been 
divine  also.  They  were  deities  who  had  formed  them 
selves  into  their  present  order  and  appearance,  or  else 
they  had  been  so  formed  by  other  and  superior  powers. 

In  course  of  time  this  theological  conception  became 
mythological.  The  elements  themselves  ceased  to  be 
divine,  but  they  represented  and  symbolised  divine  beings 
whose  actions  produced  the  existing  order  of  nature. 
The  mythological  conception  in  turn  gave  way  to  another, 
which  saw  in  the  elements  inert  matter  created,  begotten 
or  moulded  by  the  gods.  Lastly,  schools  of  philosophy 
arose  which  sought  to  find  in  matter  the  original  cause 
of  all  things,  including  even  the  gods,  though  they  veiled 
the  materialism  of  their  views  under  a  mythological  sym 

Broadly  speaking,  the  cosmological  theories  of  Chaldaaa 
divide  themselves  into  two  main  classes,  the  genealogical 
and  the  creative.  According  to  Accadian  ideas,  the  world 

368  LECTURE   VI. 

was  created  by  the  gods ;  the  Semite  saw  in  it  rather  a 
birth  or  emanation.  A  time  came,  it  is  true,  when  the 
two  sets  of  ideas  were  harmonised;  and  by  the  assumption 
of  a  chaos  which  had  existed  from  "  the  beginning,"  and 
the  further  assumption  that  "the  great  gods"  had  created 
the  objects  we  see  about  us,  room  was  left  for  the  creative 
hypothesis,  while  the  belief  in  the  birth  of  the  elements 
one  out  of  the  other  was  at  the  same  time  stoutly  main 
tained.  The  form  taken  by  the  combination  of  the  two 
ideas  will  be  best  seen  in  the  latest  product  of  Assyro- 
Babylonian  cosmogonical  systems,  that  which  describes 
the  creation  of  the  world  in  a  series  of  days. 

First  of  all,  however,  let  us  read  the  account  given  by 
Berossos  of  the  creation  of  the  world,  and  professed  by 
him  to  be  derived  from  the  writings  of  Cannes,  that  semi- 
piscine  being  who  rose  out  of  the  waters  of  the  Persian 
Gulf  to  instruct  the  people  of  Chalda3a  in  the  arts  and 
sciences  of  life.  It  is  pretty  certain  that  Berossos  had 
access  to  documents  which  purported  to  come  from  the 
hand  of  Cannes  or  Ea,  and  consequently  to  deal  with 
events  which  preceded  the  appearance  of  man  on  the 
earth.  The  Chaldsean  system  of  astronomy  which  Beros 
sos  translated  into  Greek  was  likewise  asserted  by  him 
to  have  been  composed  by  a  god,  namely  Bel ;  and  the 
fragments  of  the  original  work  which  we  now  possess 
show  that  his  assertion  was  correct,  inasmuch  as  the  work 
bears  the  title  of  the  Observations  of  Bel.  The  inscrip 
tions,  moreover,  expressly  inform  us  that  Ea  was  not 
only  the  god  of  wisdom,  but  himself  an  author.  We 
learn  from  a  tablet,  "with  warnings  to  kings  against 
injustice,"  that  if  the  king  "decrees  according  to  the 
writing  of  Ea,  the  great  gods  will  establish  him  in  good 


report  and  the  knowledge  of  justice."1  There  is,  there 
fore,  no  reason  to  doubt  the  statement  of  B crosses  that 
the  account  of  the  creation  which  he  gives  was  extracted 
from  a  document  that  professed  to  have  been  inscribed 
by  the  god  of  Eridu  himself. 

"  The  following  is  the  purport  of  what  he  said  :  There  was  a  time 
in  which  there  existed  nothing  but  darkness  and  an  abyss  of  waters, 
wherein  resided  most  hideous  beings,  which  were  produced  by  a  two 
fold  principle.  There  appeared  men,  some  of  whom  were  furnished  with 
two  wings,  others  with  four,  and  with  two  faces.  They  had  one  body, 
but  two  heads ;  the  one  that  of  a  man,  the  other  of  a  woman ;  they 
were  likewise  in  their  several  organs  both  male  and  female.  Other 
human  figures  were  to  be  seen  with  the  legs  and  horns  of  a  goat ;  some 
had  horses'  feet,  while  others  united  the  hind-quarters  of  a  horse  with 
the  body  of  a  man,  resembling  in  shape  the  hippocentaurs.  Bulls  like 
wise  were  bred  there  with  the  heads  of  men ;  and  dogs  with  four-fold 
bodies,  terminated  in  their  extremities  with  the  tails  of  fishes ;  horses 
also  with  the  heads  of  dogs ;  men,  too,  and  other  animals,  with  tho 
heads  and  bodies  of  horses  and  the  tails  of  fishes.  In  short,  there  were 
creatures  in  which  were  combined  the  limbs  of  every  species  of  animal. 
In  addition  to  these,  there  were  fishes,  reptiles,  serpents,  with  other 
monstrous  animals,  which  assumed  each  other's  shape  and  countenance. 
Of  all  which  were  preserved  delineations  in  the  temple  of  Belos  at 

The  person  who  was  supposed  to  have  presided  over  them  was  a 
woman  named  Omoroka,  which  in  the  Chaldaean  language  is  Thalatth 
(read  Thavatth),  which  in  Greek  is  interpreted  Thalassa  (the  sea) ;  but 
according  to  the  most  true  interpretation  it  is  equivalent  to  the  Moon. 
All  things  being  in  this  situation,  Belos  came  and  cut  the  woman 
asunder,  and  of  one  half  of  her  he  formed  the  earth,  and  of  the  other 
half  the  heavens,  and  at  the  same  time  destroyed  the  animals  within 
her  (in  the  abyss). 

All  this  was  an  allegorical  description  of  nature.     For,  the  whole 

1  W.A.I,  iv.  55.  7,  8.  Sipar  is  literally  "a  message,"  but  as  tho 
message  was  in  later  times  a  written  one,  it  signifies  "a  letter"  or 
"writing."  I  have  translated  sitilti  (for  sitisti),  "good  report,"  on  the 
strength  of  W.  A.  I.  v.  17,  4 — 7,  and  the  meaning  of  its  ideographic 
equivalent,  "  fatherliness ;"  but  it  may  signify  "  study." 

2  B 

370  LECTURE   VI. 

universe  consisting  of  moisture,  and  animals  being  continually  generated 
therein,  the  deity  above-mentioned  (Belos)  cut  off  his  own  head  ;  upon 
•which  the  other  gods  mixed  the  blood,  as  it  gushed  out,  with  the  earth, 
and  from  thence  men  were  formed.  On  this  account  it  is  that  they 
are  rational,  and  partake  of  divine  knowledge.  This  Belos,  by  whom 
they  signify  Zeus,  divided  the  darkness,  and  separated  the  heavens  from 
the  earth,  and  reduced  the  universe  to  order.  But  the  recently-created 
animals,  not  being  able  to  bear  the  light,  died.  Belos  upon  this,  seeing 
a  vast  space  unoccupied,  though  by  nature  fruitful,  commanded  one  of 
the  gods  to  take  off  his  head,  and  to  mix  the  blood  with  the  earth,  and 
from  thence  to  form  other  men  and  animals,  which  should  be  capable 
of  bearing  the  light.  Belos  formed  also  the  stars  and  the  sun  and  the 
moon  and  the  five  planets."1 

The  account  of  the  cosmological  theories  of  the  Baby 
lonians  thus  given  by  Berossos  has  not  come  to  us  imme 
diately  from  his  hand.  It  was  first  copied  from  his  book 
by  Alexander  Polyhistor,  a  native  of  Asia  Minor,  who 
was  a  slave  at  Eome  for  a  short  period  in  the  time  of 
Sulla ;  and  from  Polyhistor  it  has  been  embodied  in  the 
works  of  the  Christian  writers  Eusebios  and  George  the 
Synkellos.  It  is  not  quite  certain,  therefore,  whether 
the  whole  of  the  quotation  was  originally  written  by 
Berossos  himself.  At  all  events,  it  evidently  includes 
two  inconsistent  accounts  of  the  creation  of  the  world, 
which  have  been  awkwardly  fitted  on  to  one  another.  In 
one  of  them,  the  composite  creatures  who  filled  the  watery 
chaos,  over  which  Thavatth,  the  Tiamat  or  Tiavat  of  the 
inscriptions,  presided,  were  represented  as  being  destroyed 
by  Bel  when  he  cut  Thavatth  asunder,  forming  the  heavens 
out  of  one  portion  of  her  body,  and  the  earth  out  of  the 
other.  In  the  second  version,  the  monsters  of  chaos 
perished  through  the  creation  of  light,  and  their  places 
were  taken  by  the  animals  and  men  produced  by  the 

1  Euseb.  Cliron.  i.  4. 


mixture  of  the  earth  with  the  blood  of  Eel.  What  this 
blood  meant  may  be  gathered  from  the  Phoenician  myth 
which  told  how  the  blood  of  the  sky,  mutilated  by  his 
son  Kronos  or  Baal,  fell  upon  the  earth  in  drops  of  rain 
and  filled  the  springs  and  rivers.  It  was,  in  fact,  the 
fertilising  rain. 

Both  versions  of  the  genesis  of  the  universe  reported 
by  Berossos  agree  not  only  in  the  representation  of  a 
chaos  that  existed  before  the  present  order  of  things,  but 
also  in  the  curious  statement  that  this  chaos  was  peopled 
with  strange  creatures,  imperfect  first  attempts  of  nature, 
as  it  were,  to  form  the  animal  creation  of  the  present 
world.  In  these  chaotic  beginnings  of  animal  life  we 
may  see  a  sort  of  anticipation  of  the  Darwinian  hypo 
thesis.  At  any  rate,  the  Babylonian  theory  on  the  sub 
ject  must  have  been  the  source  of  the  similar  theory 
propounded  by  the  Ionic  philosopher  Anaximander  in  the 
sixth  century  before  our  era.  The  philosophical  systems 
of  the  early  Greek  thinkers  of  Asia  Minor  came  to  them 
from  Babylonia  through  the  hands  of  the  Phoenicians, 
and  it  is  consequently  no  more  astonishing  to  find  Anaxi 
mander  declaring  that  men  had  developed  out  of  the  fish 
of  the  sea,  than  to  find  his  predecessor  Thales  agreeing 
with  the  priests  of  Babylonia  in  holding  that  all  things 
have  originated  from  a  watery  abyss. 

The  fact  that  Anaximander  already  knew  of  the  Baby 
lonian  doctrine  shows  that  it  could  not  have  been  sug 
gested  to  Berossos  himself,  as  we  might  be  tempted  to 
think,  by  the  colossal  bulls  that  guarded  the  gates,  and 
the  curious  monsters  depicted  on  the  walls,  of  the  temple 
of  Bel.  And  we  are  now  able  to  carry  the  belief  back 
to  a  period  very  much  earlier  than  that  of  Anaximander. 

2  B  2 

372  LECTURE   VI. 

The  library  of  Mneveh  contained  the  copy  of  a  tablet 
which,  according  to  its  concluding  lines,  was  originally 
written  for  the  great  temple  of  Nergal  at  Cutha.1  The 
words  of  the  text  are  put  in  the  mouth  of  Nergal  the 
destroyer,  who  is  represented  as  sending  out  the  hosts  of 
the  ancient  brood  of  chaos  to  their  destruction.  Nergal 
is  identified  with  Nerra,  the  plague-god,  who  smites  them 
with  pestilence,  or  rather  with  Ner,  the  terrible  "king 
who  gives  not  peace  to  his  country,  the  shepherd  who 
grants  no  favour  to  his  people."2  We  are  first  told  how 
the  armies  of  chaos  came  into  existence.  "  On  a  tablet 
none  wrote,  none  disclosed,  and  no  bodies  or  brushwood 
were  produced  in  the  land ;  and  there  was  none  whom  I 
approached.  "Warriors  with  the  body  of  a  bird  of  the 
valley,  men  with  the  faces  of  ravens,  did  the  great  gods 
create.  In  the  ground  did  the  gods  create  their  city. 
Tiamat  (the  dragon  of  chaos)  suckled  them.  Their  pro- 

1  Col.  iv.  11.  9  sq.     Atta  sarru  patesi  rium  lu  nin  sanama  sa  flu 
inambu  (u)  sarruta  tebus  dup  suatu  ebus-ka  nard  asdhur-ka  ina  ali 
GU-DU-A-KI   ina   bit   SU-LIM    (i)na  parak[LVL]    D.  p.   U-GUR   ezibakka : 
"  Thou,  king,  priest-ruler,  shepherd,  or  whatever  thou  art,  whom  God 
shall  proclaim  to  govern  the  kingdom,  for  thee  have  I  made  this  tablet, 
for  thee  have  I  written  the  record-stone ;  in  the  city  of  Cutha,  in  the 
temple  of  'Sulim,  in  the  sanctuary  of  Nergal,  have  I  left  it  for  thee." 

2  Ana  pale  mind  ezib  anaku  sarru  la  musallimu  mati-su  u  rieum  la 
musallimu  ummanu-su  ki  ustakkan  pagri  u  Mti  use t si  salum  mail  nisi 
musi  mutu  namtar  arur-su  :  "  What  have  I  left  for  (my)  reign  1    I  am 
a  king  who  gives  not  peace  to  his  land,  and  a  shepherd  who  gives  not 
peace  to  his  people ;  since  I  have  made  corpses  and  produced  jungle, 
the  whole  of  the  land  and  the  men  I  have  cursed  with  night,  death  and 
pestilence."    Buti  means  "  thickets"  or  "jungle,"  and  corresponds  with 
the  Accadian  sag  ;  see  GIS-BA  sag  and  GIS-BA-PAL  =  bdtum,  W.A.I,  ii. 
41.   70,  71   (for  NAM-BA  —  kidtu,  cf.  v.  11,  3,  also  qistu,  "offering"); 
.  .  .  .  sag  =  Mtnm  ("  thickness"),  v.  20,  48;  sag  =  Utum,  v.  29,  56. 
In  82.  5—22.  19G.  Rev.  8,  buti  is  opposed  to  dt'biri,  "pasture-lands." 


geny  (sasur)  the  mistress  of  the  gods  created.  In  the 
midst  of  the  mountains  they  grew  up  and  became  heroes 
and  increased  in  number.  Seven  kings,  brethren,  ap 
peared  and  begat  children.  Six  thousand  in  number 
were  their  peoples.  The  god  Banini  their  father  was 
king ;  their  mother  was  the  queen  Melili."  It  was  the 
subjects  and  the  offspring  of  these  semi-human  heroes 
whom  the  god  Ner  was  deputed  to  destroy. 

It  is  clear  that  the  legend  of  Cutha  agrees  with  Beros- 
sos  in  the  main  facts,  however  much  it  may  differ  in 
details.  In  both  alike,  we  have  a  first  creation  of  living 
beings,  and  these  beings  are  of  a  composite  nature,  and 
the  nurselings  of  Tiamat  or  Chaos.  In  both  alike,  the 
whole  brood  is  exterminated  by  the  gods  of  light.  A 
curious  point  in  connection  with  the  legend  is  the  descrip 
tion  of  chaos  as  a  time  when  writing  was  as  yet  unknown 
and  records  unkept.  Perhaps  we  may  see  in  this  an 
allusion  to  the  fact  that  the  Babylonian  histories  of  the 
pre-human  period  were  supposed  to  have  been  composed 
by  the  gods. 

The  date  to  which  the  legend  in  its  present  form  may 
be  assigned  is  difficult  to  determine.  The  inscription 
is  in  Semitic  only,  like  the  other  creation-tablets,  and 
therefore  cannot  belong  to  the  pre-Semitic  age.  It  be 
longs,  moreover,  to  an  epoch  when  the  unification  of  the 
deities  of  Babylonia  had  already  taken  place,  and  the 
circle  of  "the  great  gods"  was  complete.  Ea,  Istar, 
Zamama,  Anunit,  even  Nebo  and  "  Samas  the  warrior," 
are  all  referred  to  in  it.  We  must  therefore  place  its 
composition  after  the  rise  not  only  of  the  hymns  of 
Sippara,  but  also  of  the  celebrity  of  the  Semitic  god  of 
Borsippa.  On  the  other  hand,  the  reference  to  the  patesi 

374  LECTURE   VI. 

or  priest-king  in  the  concluding  lines  seems  to  prevent 
us  from  assigning  too  late  a  date  to  the  poem.  Perhaps 
we  shall  not  be  far  wrong  in  ascribing  it  to  the  era  of 

Tiamat  or  Tiavat,  the  Thavatth  of  Berossos,  is  the 
tfhom  or  "  deep  "  of  the  Old  Testament,  and  the  word  is 
used  in  Assyrian,  in  the  contracted  form  tamtu,  to  denote 
"  the  deep  sea."  It  was  upon  the  face  of  the  Phom  or 
"deep"  that  "  the  breath  of  Elohim "  brooded,  according 
to  the  first  chapter  of  Genesis.  The  word  is  not  only 
Semitic,  but,  in  its  cosmological  signification,  of  Semitic 
origin.  It  has,  however,  an  Accadian  descent.  The 
belief  that  the  watery  abyss  was  the  source  of  all  things 
went  back  to  the  worshippers  of  the  sea-god  Ea  at  Eridu. 
But  with  them  the  deep  was  termed  apzu,  which  a  pun 
ning  etymology  afterwards  read  ab-zu,  "  the  house  of 
knowledge,"  wherein  Ea,  the  god  of  wisdom,  was  imagined 
to  dwell.  The  Sumerian  abzu  was  borrowed  by  the  Se 
mites  under  the  form  of  apsu.  The  Sumerians  had 
endowed  it  with  a  spirit,  in  accordance  with  the  Sha- 
nanistic  faith  of  early  days,  and  as  such  had  made  it  the 
mother  of  Ea  and  of  the  other  gods.  But  I  have  already 
pointed  out  in  a  previous  Lecture  that  the  abzu^  or  deep, 
of  which  Ea  was  lord,  was  not  only  the  ocean-stream 
that  surrounded  the  earth,  and  upon  which  the  earth 
floated,  like  Delos  in  Greek  myth ;  it  was  also  the  deep 
which  rolled  above  the  firmament  of  heaven,  through 
whose  windows  its  waters  descended  in  the  days  of  the 
deluge.  Consequently  the  mother  of  Ea  was  usually 
known  by  another  name  than  that  of  Apzu.  She  was 
Zikum  or  Zigarum,  "  the  heaven"  (W.A.I,  ii.  48,  26; 
50,  27),  whom  a  mythological  list  describes  as  "the 


mother  that  has  begotten  heaven  and  earth"  (W.  A.  I. 
ii.  54,  18).  In  the  same  passage  she  is  declared  to  be 
"  the  handmaid  of  the  spirit  of  E-kura,"  the  lower  firma 
ment  or  earth ;  and  with  this  agrees  the  statement  that 
Zikura,  a  dialectic  form  of  Zigarum,1  is  the  earth  itself 
(W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  27).  But  it  was  not  the  existing  earth 
or  the  existing  heaven  that  was  represented  by  Zikum ; 
she  was  rather  the  primordial  abyss  out  of  which  both 
earth  and  heaven  were  produced.  Possibly  an  old  myth 
may  have  related  that  she  was  torn  asunder  when  the 
present  world  was  made,  the  upper  half  of  her  becoming 
the  sky  and  the  lower  half  the  earth.  This  at  least  is 
what  we  may  gather  from  the  story  given  by  Berossos. 

As  far  back  as  the  days  of  the  priest-kings  of  Tel-loh, 
Zikum  was  honoured  in  southern  Babylonia  under  the 
name  of  Bahu.2  She  was  "  the  daughter  of  heaven,"  to 
whom  they  had  erected  a  temple  at  Zerghul.  Like  Gula, 
she  was  "the  great  mother,"  and  in  the  era  of  totemism 
was  known  as  "  the  pure  heifer."  Bau,  or  Bahu,  is  the 
boku  of  the  Old  Testament,  the  Baau  of  Phoenician  mytho 
logy,  of  whom  Philon  Byblios  informs  us  that  "  of  the 
wind  Kolpia  and  of  his  wife  Baau,  which  is  interpreted 
t  night,'  were  begotten  two  mortal  men,  Aion  and  Pro- 

1  Zi-kum,  Zi-garum,  Zi-kura,  are  all  compounds  of  Zit  "a  spirit,"  and 
are  explained  by  Zi-(E-)kura,  "  the  spirit  of  the  lower  firmament."     It 
is  possible  that  Zi-kum  was  originally  "the  spirit  of  the  earth"  alone, 
Ea  being  the  spirit  of  the  deep.     Zi-kura  and   Zi-garum  may  have 
different  etymologies,  since  garum  seems  to  be  connected  with  gurt  a 
Sumerian  synomym  of  apzu.     In  W.A.I,  iv.  15,  5,  e-gur-ra  is  ren 
dered  by  the  Assyrian  apsu.     There  seems  to  have  been  a  confusion 
between  E-kura  and  E-gura. 

2  See  Hommel,  Vorsemitisclie  Kulturen,  p.  380.     I  do  not  feel  quite 
certain,  however,  about  the  identification. 

376  LECTURE    VI. 

togonos."1  According  to  the  book  of  Genesis,  the  earth 
created  by  God  in  the  beginning  was  "  without  form 
and  void,"  the  word  translated  "void"  being  bo hu  or 
"  chaos."  The  wind  or  spirit  which  the  Phoenicians 
associated  with  Baau  is  the  Sumerian  spirit  of  the  deep, 
the  Zi  ZiJcum  invoked  in  the  magical  texts.2 

An  allusion  to  the  creation  of  the  heavens  out  of  the 
watery  abyss,  and  the  subsequent  formation  of  the  earth, 
is  found  in  a  mythological  document,  where  we  read : 
"  The  heaven  was  made  from  the  waters ;  the  god  and 
the  goddess  create  the  earth."3  The  god  and  the  goddess 
must  of  course  mean  the  heaven  and  the  deep,  and  thus 
presuppose  a  cosmological  theory  inconsistent  with  that 
of  the  rulers  of  Tel-loh,  who  entitle  Bahu  the  daughter 
of  the  sky.  "We  may  gather  from  this  that  Bahu  and 
Zikum  were  not  originally  the  same  divinities,  and  that 
it  was  only  through  a  belief  that  the  ocean-stream  was 
fed  from  heaven  that  Bahu  became  identified  with  it. 
The  Semites,  therefore,  could  not  have  come  into  contact 
with  the  cosmogony  of  the  Sumerians  until  after  the  age 
of  the  patesis  of  Zerghul. 

But  whatever  form  the  old  cosmogony  may  have 
assumed,  the  fundamental  element  in  it  remained  un 
changed.  The  watery  abyss  was  always  the  primal 
source  of  the  universe.  Whether  it  was  the  heaven 
which  first  rose  out  of  the  deep,  and  then  in  combination 
with  the  deep  produced  the  earth,  or  whether  the  deep 

1  Euseb.  Prcap.  Evang.  i.  10. 

2  Soin  W.A.I.  iv.  1.  ii.  36. 

3  K  170,  Obv.  6,  7.    The  word  "goddess"  is  phonetically  written  in 
Aceadian  DiN-^'-n,  which  settles  the  reading  of  the  form  DINGI-??  on  the 
early  bricks. 


itself  developed  into  the  heavens  and  the  earth,  the  deep, 
and  the  deep  alone,  was  the  first  of  things  to  exist.  If 
Bahu,  therefore,  was  ever  identified  with  the  deep  in  the 
mind  of  the  southern  Babylonian,  it  must  have  been 
when  the  deep  had  ceased  to  be  the  watery  abyss  of 
chaos  and  had  become  the  home  of  the  creator  Ea,  deriving 
its  waters  from  the  heavens  above. 

But  it  is  more  probable  that  the  identification  was  due 
to  a  total  misconception  of  the  true  character  of  Bahu. 
In  the  Phoenician  mythology  as  in  Genesis,  Bohu  is  sim 
ply  "  chaos,"  but  it  is  the  chaos  which  existed  on  earth, 
not  within  the  waters  of  the  abyss.  It  represents  that 
pre-human  age  which,  according  to  the  legend  of  Cutha, 
witnessed  the  creation  of  the  monsters  of  Tiamat.  These 
monsters  had  their  home,  their  "  city,"  in  "  the  ground ; " 
there  was  therefore  already  an  earth  by  the  side  of  the 
deep.  But  this  earth  was  the  abode  of  chaos,  of  Bahu, 
and  had  originated,  like  the  sky,  out  of  the  waters  of  the 
abyss.  There  were  thus  two  representatives  of  chaos, 
the  primaeval  Apzu,  the  Tiamat  of  the  Semitic  epoch, 
and  the  secondary  Bahu  who  presided  over  the  chaos  of 
the  earth.  Later  ages  failed  to  distinguish  between  the 
two,  and  Apzu  and  Bahu  thus  became  one  and  the  same. 

But  a  new  distinction  now  took  the  place  of  the  older 
one.  Bahu  was  no  longer  distinguished  from  Apzu; 
she  was  distinguished,  on  the  other  hand,  from  Tiamat. 
Bahu  became  one  of  the  great  gods,  while  Tiamat  was 
left  to  personate  chaos  and  all  the  anarchy  and  evil  that 
proceeded  out  of  chaos.  The  spirits  of  earth  were  trans 
formed  into  the  seven  evil  demons  who  had  their  dwelling 
in  the  deep,  and  the  cosmological  sundering  of  the  body 

378  LECTURE    YI. 

of  Zikum  took  a  mythological  shape.  It  appears  in  the 
legendary  poems  as  the  struggle  between  Merodach  and 
the  dragon  Tiamat,  which  ended  in  the  rout  of  Tiamat 
and  her  allies,  and  the  tearing  asunder  of  the  body  of  the 
fiend.  The  poems  are  all  of  the  Semitic  age ;  and  though 
the  materials  upon  which  they  are  based  doubtless  go 
back  to  a  pre-Semitic  era,  we  have  no  means  at  present 
of  determining  how  much  in  them  belongs  to  primitive 
Chaldsea,  and  how  much  is  the  invention  of  Semitic 
imagination.  That  Merodach  appears  in  them  as  the 
champion  of  the  gods,  proves  only  that  the  legends  they 
embody  originated  in  either  Eridu  or  Babylon. 

Nothing  can  show  more  plainly  the  wide  gulf  that  lies 
between  the  religions  of  pre-Semitic  and  Semitic  Chaldaea, 
than  the  contrast  between  the  Zikum  of  Eridu,  the  mother 
of  gods  and  men,  and  the  wicked  Tiamat  of  the  legends, 
with  her  misshapen  body  and  malignant  mind.  In  the 
watery  abyss  in  which  the  first  philosophers  of  Eridu 
saw  the  origin  of  all  things,  there  was  nothing  unholy, 
nothing  abhorrent.  On  the  contrary,  it  was  the  home 
and  mother  of  the  great  god  Ea,  the  primal  source  of  his 
wisdom  and  his  benevolence  towards  man.  It  was  from 
its  waters  that  Cannes  had  ascended,  bringing  the  light 
of  knowledge  and  art  to  the  human  race.  But  the 
watery  abyss  personified  by  the  Tiamat  of  the  poems 
belongs  altogether  to  another  category.  It  represents  all 
that  is  opposed  to  the  present  orderly  course  of  the  uni 
verse  ;  it  stands  outside  and  in  opposition  to  the  gods  of 
heaven,  and  is  thus  essentially  evil.  Not  only  has  the 
problem  of  the  origin  of  evil  presented  itself  to  the  Baby 
lonian;  he  has  found  a  solution  of  it  in  his  dragon  of 


chaos.     It  is  thus  that  the  great  fight  between  Bel  and 
the  dragon  is  described : l 

"  He  (Anu  ])  established  for  him  (Merodach  1)  also  the  shrine  of 

the  mighty, 

before  his  fathers  for  (his)  kingdom  he  founded  (it).2 
Yea,  thou  art  glorious  among  the  great  gods, 
thy  destiny  has  no  rival,  thy  gift-day  is  Anu ; 
from  that  day  unchanged  is  thy  command ; 
high  and  low  entreat  thy  hand ; 
may  the  word  that  goes  forth  from  thy  mouth  be  established,  the 

unending  decision  of  thy  gift-day. 
None  among  the  gods  surpasses  thy  power,3 
as  an  adornment  has  (thy  hand)  founded  the  shrine  of  the  gods ; 
may  the  place  of  their  gathering  (?)*  become  thy  home. 
'  0  Merodach,  thou  art  he  that  avenges  us ; 

we  give  thee  the  sovereignty,  (we)  the  multitudes  of  the  universe  ; 
thou  possessest  (it),  and  in  the  assembly  (of  the  gods)  may  thy 

word  be  exalted ! 

Never  may  they  break  thy  weapons,  may  thine  enemies  tremble  ! 
O  lord,  be  gracious  to  the  soul  of  him  who  putteth  his  trust  in  thee, 
and  destroy  (literally,  pour  out)  the  soul  of  the  god  who  has  hold 

of  evil.' 

1  Fragments  of  an  Assyrian  copy  of  the  text  from  the  library  of 
Assur-bani-pal  at  Nineveh  were  discovered  by  Mr.  George  Smith,  and 
published  by  him  in  the  Transactions  of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archae 
ology,  iv.  2,  a  revised  edition  of  them  being  subsequently  published 
by  Prof.  Fr.  Delitzsch  in  his  Assyrische  Lesestiicke.     They  have  since 
been  supplemented  by  a  tablet  brought  by  Mr.  Hormuzd  Eassam  from 
Babylonia,  which  gives  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  text,  and  shows 
that  it  belonged  to  the  fourth   tablet  of  the  Creation  series.     This 
important  tablet  has  been  copied  by  Mr.  Budge,  who  has  been  kind 
enough  to  allow  me  the  use  of  his  copy.     He  gave  an  account  of  it  in 
the  Proceedings  of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archceology,  Nov.  6th,  1883, 
reserving  a  complete  paper  on  the  subject  for  the  Transactions  of  the 
same  Society. 

2  These  are  the  last  two  lines  of  the  third  tablet  of  the  Creation 

3  Literally,  "  passes  by  thy  hand." 

4  'Sagi,  which  occurs  also  in  K  2584,  10  (lilil  iagi-sunu). 

380  LECTURE   VI. 

Then  they  placed  in  their  midst  by  itself  his  plan  ;l 

they  spoke  to  Merodach  their  first-born  : 

*  May  thy  destiny,  0  lord,  go  before  the  gods,  and 

may  they  confirm  the  destruction  and  the  creation  of  all  that  is  said. 

Set  thy  mouth,  may  it  destroy  his  plan ; 

turn,  speak  unto  him  and  let  him  produce  again  his  plan.'2 

He  spake  and  with  his  mouth  destroyed  his  plan ; 

he  turned,  he  spake  to  him  and  his  plan  was  re-created. 

Like  the  word  that  issues  from  his  mouth,  the  gods  his  fathers 

beheld  (it) ; 

they  rejoiced,  they  approached  Merodach  the  king ; 
they  bestowed  upon  him  the  sceptre  (and)  throne  and  reign, 
they  gave  him  a  weapon  unrivalled,  consuming  the  hostile : 
'  Go'  (they  said)  < and  cut  off  the  life  of  Tiamat ; 
let  the  winds  carry  her  blood  to  secret  places.' 
They  showed  his  path  and  they  bade  him  listen  and  take  the  road. 
There  was  too  the  bow,  his  weapon  (which)  he  used ; 
he  made  the  club  swing,  he  fixed  its  seat ; 
then  he  lifted  up  his  weapon,  (which)  he  caused  his  right  hand  to 


the  bow  and  the  quiver  he  hung  at  his  side  ;s 
he  set  the  lightning  before  him ; 
with  a  glance  of  swiftness  he  filled  his  body. 
He  made  also  a  snare  to  enclose  the  dragon  of  the  sea. 

1  Or  "word."     It  is  impossible  in  a  translation  to  preserve  the  play 
upon  words  in  the  original.     The  god  of  evil  (Kingu,  the  husband  of 
Tiamat)  is  represented  as  having  uttered  a  word  which  becomes  a  plan 
or  plot :  it  is  this  which  Merodach  is  called  upon  to  destroy  and  re-create. 

2  Literally,  "lift  up  his  word." 

8  The  arming  of  Merodach  with  the  bow  of  Anu  in  "  the  assembly 
of  the  gods,"  was  the  subject  of  a  special  poem,  of  which  a  fragment 
is  preserved.  One  of  the  constellations  was  named  "  the  Star  of  the 
Bow  ;"  and  according  to  the  story  of  the  Deluge  (Col.  iii.  51,  52),  when 
Xisuthros  had  left  the  ark  and  offered  his  sacrifice  on  the  peak  of  Mount 
Nizir,  "  Istar  (the  great  goddess)  at  (her)  coming  lifted  up  the  mighty 
shafts  (namzabi)  which  Anu  had  made."  That  the  bow  is  here  referred 
to  seems  evident  from  a  passage  in  a  hymn  (W.  A.  I.  ii.  19.  7,  8),  where 
allusion  is  made  to  "the  bow  of  the  deluge,"  in  Accadian  gisme  (GIS-BAM) 
mdtu.  The  word  "bow"  is  here  translated,  not  by  the  ordinary  Assy 
rian  midpanu,  but  by  qastu,  the  Heb.  qesheth.  Comp.  Gen.  ix.  13 — 16. 


He  seized  the  four  winds  that  they  might  not  issue  forth  from  her, 
the  south  wind,  the  north  wind,  the  east  wind  (and)  the  west  wind. 
His  hand  brought  the  snare  near  unto  the  bow  of  his  father  Anu. 
He  created  the  evil  wind,  the  hostile  wind,  the  storm,  the  tempest, 
the  four  winds,  the  seven  winds,  the  whirlwind,  the  unending  wind; 
he  caused  the  winds  he  had  created  to  issue  forth,  seven  in  all, 
confounding  the  dragon  Tiamat,  as  they  swept  after  him. 
Then  Bel  lifted  up  the  hurricane  (deluge),  his  mighty  weapon. 
He  rode  in  a  chariot  of  destiny  that  fears  not  a  rival.1 
He  stood  firm  and  hung  the  four  reins  at  its  side. 

unsparing,  inundating  her  covering. 

their  teeth  carry  poison. 

they  sweep  away  the  learned  (?). 

might  and  battle. 
On  the  left  they  open       .... 


With  lustre  and  (terror)  he  covered  his  head. 
He  directed  also  (his  way),  he  made  his  path  descend ; 
Humbly  he  set  the  ....  before  him. 
By  (his)  command  he  kept  back  the  .... 
His  finger  holds  the       .... 
On  that  day  they  exalted  him,  the  gods  exalted  him, 
the  gods  his  fathers  exalted  him,  the  gods  exalted  him. 
Then  Bel  approached  ;  he  catches  Tiamat  by  her  waist ; 
she  seeks  the  huge  bulk  (?)  of  Kingu  her  husband, 
she  looks  also  for  his  counsel. 

Then  the  rebellious  one  appointed  him  the  destroyer  of  the  com 
mands  (of  Bel). 

And  the  gods  his  helpers  who  marched  beside  him 
beheld  (how  Merodach)  the  first-born  holds  their  yoke. 
He  laid  judgment  on  Tiamat,  but  she  turned  not  her  neck. 
With  her  hostile  lips  she  declared  opposition  : 
.     .     .     .     0  lord,  the  gods  swept  after  thee. 
They  gathered  their  (forces)  together  to  where  thou  wast. 
Bel  (launched)  the  deluge,  his  mighty  weapon ; 
(against)  Tiamat  who  had  raised  herself  (?)  thus  he  sent  it. 

1  If  Delitzsch's  copy  is  correct,  it  is  possible  to  extract  sense  out  of 
the  line  only  by  supposing  that  the  negative  is  misplaced,  and  that  we 
should  read  makliri  la  galidta.  In  W.  A.  I.  iii.  12,  32,  galitti  is  used 
of  the  "ebbing"  sea. 

382  LECTURE   VI. 

(Against)  the  gods  my  fathers  thy  enmity  hast  thou  directed. 
Thou  harnesser  of  thy  companions,  may  thy  weapons  pierce  their 


Stand  up,  and  I  and  thou  will  fight  together/ 
When  Tiamat  heard  this, 

she  uttered  her  former  spells,  she  repeated  her  command. 
Tiamat  also  cried  out  violently  with  a  high  voice. 
From  its  roots  she  strengthened  (her)  seat  completely. 
She  recites  an  incantation,  she  casts  a  spell, 
and  the  gods  of  battle  demand  for  themselves  their  arms. 
Then  Tiamat  attacked  Merodach  the  prince  of  the  gods ; 
in  combat  they  joined ;  they  engaged  in  battle. 
Then  Bel  opened  his  snare  and  enclosed  her ; 
the  evil  wind  that  seizes  from  behind  he  sent  before  him. 
Tiamat  opened  her  mouth  to  swallow  it ; 

he  made  the  evil  wind  to  enter  so  that  she  could  not  close  her  lips. 
The  violence  of  the  winds  tortured  her  stomach,  and 
her  heart  was  prostrated  and  her  mouth  was  twisted. 
He  swung  the  club ;  he  shattered  her  stomach ; 
he  cut  out  her  entrails ;  he  mastered  her  heart ; 
he  bound  her  and  ended  her  life. 
He  threw  down  her  corpse ;  he  stood  upon  it. 
When  Tiamat  who  marched  before  (them)  was  conquered, 
he  dispersed  her  forces,  her  host  was  overthrown, 
and  the  gods  her  allies  who  marched  beside  her 
trembled  (and)  feared  (and)  turned  their  back. 
They  escaped  and  saved  their  lives. 
They  clung  to  one  another  fleeing  strengthlessly. 
He  followed  them  and  broke  their  arms. 
He  cast  his  snare  and  they  are  caught  in  his  net. 
They  recognise  the  spot(?),  they  are  filled  with  grief; 
they  bear  their  sin,  they  are  kept  in  bondage, 
and  the  elevenfold  offspring  are  troubled  through  fear. 
The  brilliancy  (of  Bel)  the  spirits  as  they  march  clearly  perceived. 
His  hand  lays  darkness  (upon  their  host). 
At  the  same  time  their  opposition  (fails)  from  under  them, 
and  the  god  Kingu  who  had  (marshalled)  their  (forces) 
he  bound  him  also  with  the  god  of  the  tablets  (of  destiny  in)  his 

right  hand ; 
and  he  took  from  him  the  tablets  of  destiny  (that  were)  with  him; 


with  the  string  of  the  stylus1  he  sealed  (them)  and  held  the  (cover  ?) 

of  the  tablet. 

From  the  time  he  had  bound  and  laid  the  yoke  on  his  foes 
he  led  the  illustrious  enemy  captive  like  an  ox ; 
the  victory  of  the  Firmament  (an-sar)  he  laid  fully  upon  (his) 

antagonists ; 
Merodach  the  warrior  has  overcome  the  lamentation  of  Ea  the 

lord  of  the  world. 

Over  the  gods  in  bondage  he  strengthened  his  watch,  and 
Tiamat  whom  he  had  bound  he  first  turned  backward ; 
so  Bel  trampled  on  the  foundations  of  Tiamat. 
With  his  club  unswung  (la  masdi)  he  smote  (her)  skull, 
he  broke  (it)  and  caused  her  blood  to  flow  ; 
the  north  wind  bore  (it)  away  to  secret  places. 
Then  his  father  beheld,  he  rejoiced  at  the  savour, 
he  bade  the  spirits  (?)  bring  peace  to  himself; 
And  Bel  rested,  his  body  he  fed. 

He  strengthened  his  mind  (?),  he  formed  a  clever  plan, 
and  he  stripped  her  like  a  fish  of  (her)  skin  according  to  his  plan  ; 
he  described  her  likeness  and  (with  it)  overshadowed  the  heavens ; 
he  stretched  out  the  skin,  he  kept  a  watch, 
he  urged  on  her  waters  that  were  not  issuing  forth ; 
he  lit  up  the  sky,  the  sanctuary  rejoiced, 
and  he  presented  himself  before  the  deep  the  seat  of  Ea. 
Then  Bel  measured  the  offspring  of  the  deep, 
the  mighty  master  established  the  Upper  Firmament  (E-Sarra)  as 

his  image. 

The  mighty  master  caused  Anu,  Bel  (Mul-lil)  and  Ea 
to  inhabit  the  Upper  Firmament  which  he  had  created,  even  the 

heavens,  their  strongholds. 
[First  line  of  the  5th  tablet] : — He  prepared  the  stations  of  the 

great  gods. 
[COLOPHON]  : — One  hundred  and  forty-six  lines  of  the  4th  tablet 

(of  the  series  beginning)  :  '  When  on  high  unproclaimed.' 
According  to  the  papyri  of  the  tablet  whose  writing  had  been 


1  KiMbu,  see  W.  A.  I.  v.  32,  53. 

2  Tsullupu.     A  fragmentary  prayer  to  Merodach  (R601,  Rev.  12), 
in  which  mention  is  made  of  the  man  who  "  forsakes  (issir)  the  com 
mand  of  Merodach"  and  of  how  "  Merodach  will  purify  thy  sin"  (gillati- 

384  LECTURE    VI. 

Copied  for  Nebo  liis  lord  by  Xahid-Merodach,  the  son  of  the 

irrigator,  for  the  preservation  of  his  life 
and  the  life  of  all  his  house.    He  wrote  and  placed  (it)  in  E-Zida."1 

The  legend  of  the  great  battle  between  light  and  dark 
ness  thus  took  the  form  of  a  poem  addressed  to  Merodach, 
and  constituted  the  fourth  tablet  or  book  of  the  story  of 
the  creation  in  days. 

This  story,  which  bears  a  curious  resemblance  to  the 
account  of  the  creation  in  the  first  chapter  of  Genesis, 
was  first  brought  to  light  by  Mr.  George  Smith.  The 
first  tablet  of  the  series  to  which  it  belongs  opens  as 
follows : 

"  At  that  time  the  heaven  above  had  not  yet  announced, 
or  the  earth  beneath  recorded,  a  name ; 
the  unopened'2  deep  was  their  generator, 

Mumniu-Tiamat  (the  chaos  of  the  sea)  was  the  mother  of  them  all. 
Their  waters  were  embosomed  as  one,3  and 
the  corn-field4  was  unharvested,  the  pasture  was  ungrown. 
At  that  time  the  gods  had  not  appeared  any  of  them, 

ki  Maruduk  izakkii),  ends  with  the  colophon  :  (Bab-)ili  kima  tnustaldir 
KHIR  tsullupi,  "  (copy  of)  Babylon  ;  like  one  who  causes  an  injured  text 
to  be  written. 

1  This  copy  seems  to  have  been  made  in  the  Persian  age,  and  the 
text  does  not  appear  to  be  always  correct.    This  would  be  explained  by 
the  statement  that  the  original  was  injured.    Of  much  older  date  is  a 
short  incantation  (M  1246,  3,  4)  which  concludes  with  the  words  :  "  O 
lord  exalted  (and)  great,  destroy  (opal)  Tiamat,  strike  (pudhur)  the 
unpitying  (la  edheru)  evil  one." 

2  Lapatd;  Delitzsch  reads,  ristu,  "the  first-born." 

3  S  1140,  8,  shows  that  this  is  the  meaning  of  istenis. 

4  For  gipara,  see  W.  A.  I.  v.  1,  48 — 50  :  D.  P.  Nirba  kdn  yiisakhnapu 
giparu  6ippati  summukha  inbu,  "the  corn-god  continuously  caused  the 
corn-field  to  grow,  the  papyri  were  gladdened  with  fruit ;"  and  S799,  2, 
ana  gipdri  eltu  erulbi  (Accadian,  mi-para-ki  azagga  imma-dan-tuiu\ 
"to  the  holy  corn-field  he  went  down."     The  word  has  nothing  to  do 
with  "clouds"  or  "darkness,"  as  has  been  supposed. 


by  no  name  were  they  recorded,  no  destiny  (bad  they  fixed). 

Then  the  (great)  gods  were  created, 

Lakhmu  and  Lakhamu  issued  forth  (the  first), 

until  they  grew  up  (when) 

An-sar  and  Ki-sar  were  created. 

Long  were  the  days,  extended  (was  the  time,  and) 

the  gods  Anu,  (Bel  and  Ea  were  horn). 

An-sar  and  Ki-sar  (gave  them  birth)." 

The  cosmogomy  here  presented  to  us  bears  evident 
marks  of  its  late  date.  The  gods  of  the  popular  religion 
not  only  have  their  places  in  the  universe  fixed,  the  period 
and  manner  of  their  origin  even  is  described.  The  ele 
mentary  spirits  of  the  ancient  Accadian  faith  have  passed 
into  the  great  gods  of  Semitic  belief,  and  been  finally 
resolved  into  mere  symbolical  representatives  of  the  pri 
mordial  elements  of  the  world.  Under  a  thin  disguise  of 
theological  nomenclature,  the  Babylonian  theory  of  the 
universe  has  become  a  philosophic  materialism.  The  gods 
themselves  come  and  go  like  mortal  men ;  they  are  the 
offspring  of  the  everlasting  elements  of  the  heaven  and 
earth,  and  of  that  watery  abyss  out  of  which  mythology 
had  created  a  demon  of  evil,  but  which  the  philosopher 
knew  to  be  the  mother  and  source  of  all  things.  The 
Tiamat  of  the  first  tablet  of  the  Creation  story  is  a  very 
different  being  from  the  Tiamat  of  the  fourth. 

The  old  Semitic  confusion  between  names  and  things 
was,  however,  as  potent  as  ever.  Heaven  and  earth 
existed  not  in  the  beginning  because  no  name  had  been 
pronounced  in  them,  and  they  themselves  were  nameless. 
It  was  the  same  with  the  gods.  The  gods,  too,  came  into 
being  only  when  they  received  names.  The  day  on  whicli 
the  names  of  Lakhmu  and  Lakhamu  were  first  heard  was 
the  day  on  which  they  first  "  issued  forth." 


386  LECTURE   VI. 

I  doubt  much  whether  the  story  in  its  present  form  is 
older  than  the  time  of  Assur-bani-pal.  It  is  true  that  a 
copy  of  the  fourth  tablet,  originally  deposited  in  the 
temple  of  Nebo  at  Borsippa,  is  now  in  the  British  Museum, 
but  this  cannot  be  earlier  than  the  reign  of  Nebuchad 
nezzar  ;  and  although  the  last  two  words  of  the  first  line 
of  the  story  are  quoted  in  it  in  an  Accadian  form,  this 
proves  but  little.  The  scribes  of  Assur-bani-paPs  court 
frequently  amused  themselves  by  composing  in  the  old 
language  of  Chaldoea,  and  the  introduction  of  Accadian 
words  into  their  texts  gave  them  a  flavour  of  antiquity. 

However  this  may  be,  the  cosmogony  of  the  poem 
eventually  found  its  way  into  the  pages  of  a  Greek  writer. 
Damaskios,  an  author  of  the  sixth  century,  has  preserved 
an  account  of  the  cosmological  system  of  the  Babylo 
nians,  which  he  probably  borrowed  from  some  older 
work.1  "  The  Babylonians,"  he  tells  us,  a  like  the  rest  of 
the  barbarians,  pass  over  in  silence  the  one  principle  of  the 
universe,  and  they  constitute  two,  Tavthe  and  Apason, 
making  Apason  the  husband  of  Tavthe,  and  denominating 
her  c  the  mother  of  the  gods.'  And  from  these  proceeds 
an  only-begotten  son,  Mumis,  which,  I  conceive,  is  no 
other  than  the  intelligible  world  proceeding  from  the  two 
principles.  From  them  also  another  progeny  is  derived, 
Lakhe  and  Lakhos;2  and  again  a  third,  Kissare  and 
Assoros ;  from  which  last  three  others  proceed,  Anos  and 
Illinos  and  Aos.  And  of  Aos  and  Davke  is  born  a  son 
called  Belos,  who,  they  say,  is  the  fabricator  of  the 

1  De  Prim.  Princip.  125,  p.  384,  ed.  Kopp. 

2  So  we  must  read,  in  place  of  the  Dakhe  and  Dakhos  of  the  MSS. 


There  is  only  one  point  in  which  the  account  of  Da- 
maskios  differs  from  that  of  the  cuneiform  text.  Mumis 
or  Mummu  becomes  in  it  the  only  son  of  Tavthe  and 
Apason,  that  is  to  say,  of  Tiamat  and  Apsu,  "  the  deep," 
instead  of  being  identified  with  Tiamat.  He  takes  the 
place  of  the  heaven  and  the  earth,  which  the  Assyrian 
poet  represents  as  born  of  Apsu  and  Mummu-Tiamat. 
The  alteration  seems  to  be  due  to  a  later  Babylonian 
striving  to  reconcile  the  Assyrian  cosmological  system 
with  the  belief  that  Bel-Merodach  was  the  creator  of  the 
visible  world.  The  birth  of  the  gods  is  thus  thrown  back 
beyond  the  creation  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth ;  whereas 
in  the  Assyrian  poem,  as  in  the  first  chapter  of  Genesis, 
the  creation  of  the  heavens  and  the  earth  is  placed  in 
the  forefront. 

Between  the  cosmogony  we  have  just  been  considering 
and  the  Babylonian  cosmogony  reported  by  Berossos,  no 
reconciliation  is  possible.  In  the  one,  Tiamat  is  already 
the  teeming  mother  of  strange  creatures  before  Bel  Mero- 
dach  creates  the  light,  and  by  tearing  her  asunder  forms 
the  heaven  and  the  earth.  In  the  other,  Tiamat  is  the 
mummu,  or  "  chaos,"  which,  in  combination  with  Apsu, 
"  the  deep,"  produces  Lakhmu  and  Lakhamu,  from  whom 
Ansar  and  Kisar,  "the  hosts  of  heaven"  and  "the  hosts 
of  earth,"  are  begotten;  and  then  after  long  ages  the 
gods  come  into  existence,  to  whom,  with  Merodach  the 
son  of  Ea,  the  origin  of  all  living  things  is  ascribed.  The 
names  of  Ansar  and  Kisar  have,  however,  wandered  far 
from  their  primitive  signification.  They  have  come  to 
represent  the  firmament  above  and  the  earth  below— not 
only  the  visible  sky  and  the  visible  earth,  but  also  the 


388  LECTURE   VI. 

invisible  "  heaven  of  Ami"  and  the  underground  world 
of  Hades. 

Like  Lakhmu  and  Lakhamu,  they  were  resolved  into 
forms  of  Anu  and  his  female  counterpart  Anat  by  the 
monotheistic,  or  rather  pantheistic,  school  to  whom  I 
have  alluded  in  a  former  Lecture.  It  was  to  this  pan 
theistic  school  that  the  materialistic  school  of  the  cosmo- 
gonists  was  most  sharply  opposed.  In  the  lists  in  which 
the  views  of  the  pantheistic  school  find  expression,  Lakh 
mu  and  Lakhamu  appear  as  Lakhma,  or  Lukhma,  and 
Lakhama,  an  indication  that  the  names  are  of  non-Semitic 
origin.  It  is  possible  that  they  denote  the  element  of 
"  purity"  presupposed  by  the  creation  of  the  world  out 
of  the  watery  abyss.  At  all  events,  they  are  placed  in 
one  of  the  lists  between  Du-eri  and  Da-eri,  "  the  children 
of  the  state,"  and  E-kur  and  E-sarra,  "  the  temples  of 
earth  and  heaven."  Like  so  many  of  the  Babylonian 
deities,  their  names  and  worship  were  probably  carried 
to  Canaan.  Lakhmi  seems  to  be  the  name  of  a  Philistine 
in  1  Chron.  xx.  5,  and  Beth-lehem  is  best  explained  as 
"  the  house  of  Lekhem,"  like  Beth-Dagon,  "  the  house  of 
Dagon,"  or  Beth-Anoth,  "  the  house  of  Anat."1 

It  is  unfortunate  that  the  Assyrian  cosmological  poem 
has  reached  us  only  in  a  fragmentary  state.  The  latter 
part  of  the  first  tablet  is  lost,  and  the  second  and  third 
tablets  have  not  yet  been  recovered.  The  first  half  of  the 
fifth  tablet,  however,  is  complete;  and.  as  it  describes 

1  Lakhmu  is  mentioned  but  rarely  in  the  inscriptions.  His  name, 
however,  occurs  in  K  2866,  18,  between  those  of  Gula  and  Rimmon. 
Perhaps  it  is  connected  etymologically  with  Lakhamun,  the  name  of 
Zarpanit  in  Dilvun, 


the  creation  of  the  heavenly  bodies,  we  may  compare  it 
with  the  work  of  the  fourth  day  according  to  Genesis, 
more  especially  as  the  Assyrian  poet  assigns  to  the  fourth 
tablet  the  overthrow  of  Tiamat  and  her  hosts.  It  begins 

"  (Aim)  prepared  the  (seven)  mansions  of  the  great  gods; 
he  fixed  the  stars,  even  the  twin-stars,  to  correspond  to  them ; 
he  ordained  the  year,  appointing  the  signs  of  the  Zodiac1  over  it ; 
for  each  of  the  twelve  months  he  fixed  three  stars, 
from  the  day  when  the  year  issues  forth  to  the  close. 
He  founded  the  mansion  of  the  god  of  the  ferry-boat  (the  Sun-god) 

that  they  might  know  their  bonds, 

that  they  might  not  err,  that  they  might  not  go  astray  in  any  way. 
He  established  the  mansion  of  Mul-lil  and  Ea  along  with  himself. 
He  opened  also  the  great  gates  on  either  side, 
the  bolts  he  strengthened  on  the  left  hand  and  on  the  right, 
and  in  their  midst  he  made  a  staircase. 

He  illuminated  the  Moon-god  that  he  might  watch  over  the  night, 
and  ordained  for  him  the  ending  of  the  night  that  the  day  may  be 

(saying) :  '  Month  by  month,  without  break,  keep  watch  (I)  in  thy 

disk ; 

at  the  beginning  of  the  month  kindle  the  night, 
announcing  (thy)  horns  that  the  heaven  may  know. 
On  the  seventh  day,  (filling  thy)  disk, 
thou  shalt  open  indeed  (its)  narrow  contraction.2 
At  that  time  the  sun  (will  be)  on  the  horizon  of  heaven  at  thy 


The  rest  of  the  text  is  in  too  mutilated  a  condition 
to  offer  a  connected  sense,  and  we  may  therefore  pass  on 
to  another  fragment  which  perhaps  belongs  to  the  seventh 
tablet.  At  all  events  it  records  the  creation  of  the 
animals.  "At  that  time,"  it  declares, 

1  Mizrdta  yumazzir.     Oppert  and  Schrader  have  misunderstood  the 
expression.     Mizrdta  is  the  mazzdrotli  of  Job  xxxviii.  32. 

2  Sutkhurat  me$kkir(rdti  sa  pu-)u. 

390  LECTURE    VI. 

"  The  gods  in  their  assembly  created  (the  beasts) ; 
they  made  perfect  the  mighty  (monsters) ; 
they  caused  the  living  creatures  of  the  (field)  to  come  forth, 
the  cattle  of  the  field,  the  wild  beasts  of  the  field,  and  the  creep 
ing  things  of  the  (field) ; 

(they  fixed  their  habitations)  for  the  living  creatures  (of  the  field), 
(and)  adorned  (the  dwelling-places  of)  the  cattle  and  creeping  things 

of  the  city. 

(They  made  strong)  the  multitude  of  creeping  things,  all  the  off 
spring  (of  the  earth)." 

The  lines  that  follow  are  too  much  broken  for  transla 
tion  ;  the  only  matter  of  remark  which  they  contain  is  a 
statement  put  into  the  mouth  of  some  deity  that  he  had 
"  destroyed  the  seed  of  Lakhama."  Here,  therefore, 
there  seems  to  be  a  clear  reference  to  the  monstrous  brood 
of  chaos  which  the  ancient  cosmogony  of  Cutha  regarded 
as  the  offspring  of  Tiamat.  The  place  of  Tiamat  has 
been  taken  by  the  cosmological  principle  Lakhama,  and 
the  crude  conceptions  of  an  earlier  day  have  been  worked 
into  the  philosophical  system  of  the  later  cosmology. 

The  Babylonian  Genesis,  then,  it  will  be  seen,  is 
neither  simple  nor  uniform.  Its  history  forms  a  close 
parallel  to  the  history  of  the  Babylonian  pantheon.  Like 
the  pantheon,  it  is  essentially  local  in  character ;  but  the 
local  elements  have  been  combined  eventually  so  as  to 
form  that  great  epic  of  the  Creation  whose  fragments 
have  come  to  us  from  the  library  of  Nineveh.  Local, 
however,  as  these  elements  were  in  their  origin,  they  all 
agree  in  certain  main  particulars.  In  each  case  the 
watery  abyss  is  the  primary  source  of  all  things ;  in  each 
case  the  present  creation  has  been  preceded  by  another. 
How  far  these  common  features  are  due  to  the  compara 
tive  lateness  of  the  documents  from  which  we  derive  our 


information  we  cannot  say.  For  my  own  part,  I  suspect 
that  the  legend  of  Cutha  originally  knew  nothing  of  the 
sea-serpent  Tiamat,  the  chaotic  hosts  of  which  it  speaks 
having  been  the  progeny  of  the  mountains  and  not  of 
the  deep.  But  in  its  present  form  it  agrees  with  all  the 
other  Babylonian  cosmogonies  that  have  been  preserved, 
in  making  Tiamat  their  mother  and  nurse.  The  Baby 
lonian  of  the  historical  period  was  firmly  persuaded  that 
in  the  ocean-stream  that  encircled  the  world  lay  the 
germs  of  the  whole  universe. 

This  belief  stands  in  marked  contrast  to  that  pre 
historic  belief  in  a  "  mountain  of  the  world"  which  sur 
vived  only  in  mythology.  ISTo  doubt  the  two  conceptions 
could  be  reconciled  by  those  who  undertook  the  trouble ; 
it  was  possible  to  hold  that  this  mountain  of  the  world 
was  not  the  central  shaft  around  which  the  earth  and 
heavens  were  built,  but  merely  the  centre  of  the  existing 
world.  If  this  view  was  not  generally  taken,  if  in  Baby 
lonia,  hard  by  the  Persian  Gulf,  the  world-mountain 
was  allowed  to  drop  out  of  sight,  it  must  have  been 
because  the  ideas  associated  with  it  did  not  readily  com 
bine  with  the  cosmological  theories  of  a  later  day.  At 
any  rate,  the  cosmologies  of  Babylonia,  whatever  might 
be  the  locality  in  which  they  were  taught,  were  all  based 
on  the  assumption  that  the  watery  abyss  was  the  first  of 

This  assumption  agrees  strikingly  with  the  character 
of  the  Sumerian  culture-god.  Ea,  the  god  of  Eridu, 
Cannes  who  rose  out  of  the  Persian  Gulf,  was  primarily 
a  water-god.  His  home  was  in  the  deep ;  his  mother 
was  the  watery  abyss.  "We  shall  not  go  far  wrong  if  we 
trace  the  fundamental  doctrine  of  Chaldean  cosmology 

392  LECTURE    VI. 

to  Eridu  and  its  worship  of  the  deities  of  the  deep. 
Eridu  did  not  communicate  to  the  rest  of  Babylonia  only 
the  seeds  of  culture  or  the  adoration  of  Ea,  the  god  of 
wisdom  ;  it  impressed  upon  all  the  cosmogonies  of  Baby 
lonia  the  stamp  of  its  own,  and  originated  that  view  oi 
the  origin  of  the  world  which  found  its  western  prophet 
in  the  first  of  Hellenic  philosophers.  Like  so  much  else 
that  had  its  primal  home  in  Shinar,  it  was  carried  west 
ward  to  the  shores  of  the  Mediterranean.  Phoenician 
cosmology  also  began  with  an  abyss  of  waters  in  which 
the  seeds  of  all  things  were  begotten;1  and  even  the 
Hebrew  writer  tells  us  that  "in  the  beginning,"  before 
Elohim  " carved  out  the  heavens  and  the  earth,"  "the 
earth  had  been  waste  and  void,  and  darkness  was  upon 
the  face  of  the  deep." 

It  does  not  seem,  however,  that  the  belief  in  a  pro 
visional  creation,  in  the  existence  of  composite  animals 
who  perished  when  the  present  world  came  into  being, 
can  have  emanated  from  Eridu.  At  Eridu  the  deep  was 
not  the  representative  of  chaos  and  confusion ;  quite  the 
contrary,  it  was  a  venerable  divinity,  the  mother  of  Ea 
himself.  So  far,  moreover,  from  the  composite  animals 
of  mythology  being  subjects  of  abhorrence,  Oannes,  the 
god  of  culture,  the  god  of  pure  life,  as  the  inscriptions 
term  him,  was  actually  one  of  them.  It  was  he  who  is 
described  in  the  fragment  of  Berossos  as  half-human,  with 
the  tail  of  a  fish. 

These  composite  creatures  were  really  the  offspring  of 
totemism  and  the  attempts  of  a  later  age  to  explain  the 
figures  which  totemism  had  bequeathed  to  art  and  mytho- 

1  Euseb.  Prcep.  Evang.  i.  10;  Damasldos,  De  Prim.  Princip.  123, 
p.  381,  ed.  Kopp. 


logy.  A  place  had  to  be  found  for  the  colossal  bulls  with 
human  heads  and  eagles'  wings,  for  the  hawk-headed 
cherubs  who  guarded  the  tree  of  life,  for  "the  scorpion- 
men"  who  watched  the  sun  at  his  rising  and  setting,  or 
for  the  centaurs,  half-man  and  half -horse,  whose  forms  are 
engraved  on  Babylonian  boundary-stones,  and  who  passed 
over  to  the  Greeks  through  Phoenician  hands.  Many  of 
these,  it  is  true,  were  beneficent  beings,  like  the  man- 
headed  bulls  *  but  the  majority  belonged  to  those  spirits 
of  the  earth  and  air  against  whom  the  sorcerer-priest  had 
prepared  his  spells.  They  had  no  place  or  portion  in  the 
existing  order  of  the  universe ;  when,  therefore,  Tiamat 
had  become  a  cosmological  principle,  symbolised  by  the 
serpent  or  dragon  and  opposed  to  the  gods  of  light,  it 
was  easy  to  banish  them  all  to  her  domain  and  to  regard 
her  as  their  mother  and  nurse. 

It  may  be  that  this  was  the  work  of  the  priests  of 
Babylon.  At  any  rate,  Bel-Merodach  is  credited  with 
having  been  their  destroyer,  as  he  was  also  the  destroyer 
of  Tiamat  herself ;  and  it  is  difficult  to  believe  that  this 
belief  grew  up  anywhere  else  than  in  the  city  which 
owned  Merodach  as  its  lord.  It  is  certainly  noticeable 
thatBerossos  refers  to  the  images  of  the  monsters  painted 
in  vermilion  on  the  walls  of  the  temple  of  Merodach  when 
he  is  describing  the  strange  creatures  of  the  pre-human 

In  the  epic  of  the  Creation,  whether  or  not  it  owes  its 
existence,  as  I  have  suggested,  to  an  Assyrian  poet  of 
the  age  of  Assur-bani-pal,  we  may  see  the  final  unifica 
tion  of  the  varying  cosmological  legends  of  Babylonia. 
They  are  here  combined  and  harmonised  together ;  and 
though  the  whole  is  thrown  into  a  mythological  form,  as 

394  LECTURE    VI. 

befits  the  requirements  of  poetry,  its  spirit  is  unmistak 
ably  materialistic.  In  spite  of  the  fragmentary  condition 
in  which  it  has  come  down  to  us,  it  is  possible  to  guess 
at  the  order  of  its  arrangement  by  comparing  it  with  the 
first  chapter  of  Genesis. 

The  first  tablet  or  book  was  occupied  with  the  cosmo 
gony  proper  and  the  creation  of  the  gods.  The  birth  of 
the  gods  of  light  necessarily  brought  with  it  the  creation 
of  the  light  itself.  This  would  have  been  followed  by  a 
second  tablet,  in  which  the  creation  of  the  firmament  of 
heaven  was  described.  The  gods  needed  a  habitation, 
and  this  was  provided  by  the  firmament  of  the  sky.  A 
mythological  tablet,  it  will  be  remembered,  states  that 
"the  heaven  was  created  from  the  waters,"  before  that 
"  the  god  and  goddess,"  or  Ansar  and  Kisar,  "  created 
the  earth,"  in  exact  agreement  with  the  account  in  Genesis. 
Here,  too,  the  firmament  of  the  heaven  is  created  out 
of  the  waters  of  the  deep  on  the  second  day,  dividing 
"  the  waters  which  were  under  the  firmament  from  the 
waters  which  were  above  the  firmament,"  while  the  earth 
does  not  emerge  above  the  surface  of  the  deep  until  the 
third  day.  It  is  therefore  probable  that  the  third  tablet 
of  the  A ssyro-Baby Ionian  epic  recounted  the  formation 
of  the  earth.  Unlike  the  Biblical  narrative,  however,  in 
place  of  the  vegetable  creation  of  the  third  day,  it  would 
seem  to  have  interpolated  here  the  appearance  of  the 
brood  of  chaos.  The  legend  of  Cutha  declares  that  when 
the  earth  was  peopled  by  them,  there  were  as  yet  neither 
"bodies  nor  brushwood,"  neither  the  animal  nor  the 
vegetable  world  of  to-day.  However  this  may  be,  the 
fourth  tablet  recorded  the  great  struggle  between  Mero- 
dach  and  Tiamat,  of  which  no  trace  appears  in  the  book 


of  Genesis,  though,  we  seem  to  have  allusions  to  a  similar 
conflict  in  the  spiritual  world  in  other  parts  of  the  Bible. 
In  Isaiah  xxiy.  21,  22,  we  read  "  that  the  Lord  shall 
visit  the  host  of  the  high  ones  that  are  on  high,  and  the 
kings  of  the  earth  upon  the  earth.  And  they  shall  be 
gathered  together,  as  prisoners  are  gathered  in  the  pit, 
and  shall  be  shut  up  in  prison;"  while  a  well-known 
passage  in  the  Apocalypse  (xii.  7 — 9)  tells  how  "there 
was  war  in  heaven :  Michael  and  his  angels  fought  against 
the  dragon ;  and  the  dragon  fought  and  his  angels,  and 
prevailed  not;  neither  was  their  place  found  any  more 
in  heaven.  And  the  great  dragon  was  cast  out,  that  old 
serpent,  called  the  Devil,  and  Satan."  The  fifth  tablet, 
as  we  have  seen,  was  concerned  with  the  appointment  of 
the  heavenly  bodies,  the  work  of  the  fourth  day  in 
Genesis ;  the  sixth  probably  related  the  creation  of  vege 
tables,  birds  and  fish;  and  the  seventh  that  of  animals 
and  mankind.1  In  two  respects,  therefore,  the  epic 
would  have  differed  from  the  Biblical  account :  firstly,  in 
the  interpolation  of  the  appearance  of  the  monsters  of 
chaos  and  of  the  combat  between  Merodach  and  the 
dragon ;  and  secondly,  in  making  the  seventh  day  a  day 
of  work  and  not  of  rest. 

The  epic  never  succeeded  wholly  in  supplanting  what 
we  may  regard  as  the  local  legend  of  the  Creation  current 
at  Babylon.  Its  cosmogony  was  indeed  known  to  Da- 

1  A  passage  in  one  of  the  magical  texts  indicates  that  a  similar  view 
as  to  the  creation  of  the  woman  from  the  man  prevailed  in  Babylonia,  to 
that  which  we  read  of  in  the  book  of  Genesis.  In  W.  A.  I.  iv.  1. 
i.  36,  37,  it  is  said  of  the  seven  evil  spirits  :  "  the  woman  from  the 
loins  of  the  man  they  bring  forth,"  in  conformity  with  the  Semitic 
belief  which  derived  the  woman  from  the  man.  This  part  of  the  magical 
text,  at  all  events,  must  belong  to  the  Semitic  period. 

396  LECTURE   VI. 

maskios,  and  doubtless  suited  the  philosophic  conceptions 
of  the  Greeco-Roman  age  far  better  than  the  older  crea 
tion-stories  of  Babylonia;  but  it  is  ignored  by  Berossos, 
who  collected  the  materials  of  his  narrative  from  the 
priests  of  Bel-Merodach  at  Babylon.  As  one  of  their 
order  himself,  he  preferred  to  give  their  own  version  of 
the  creation  of  the  world,  rather  than  a  version  which 
was  less  peculiarly  Babylonian,  however  consonant  the 
latter  might  be  with  the  opinions  of  his  Greek  readers. 

The  contents  of  the  fifth  tablet  introduce  us  to  a  side 
of  Babylonian  religion  which  occupied  an  important  and 
prominent  position,  at  all  events  in  the  official  cult.  At 
the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  writers  upon  the 
ancient  East  were  fond  of  enlarging  upon  a  Sabaistic 
system  of  faith  which  they  supposed  had  once  been  the 
dominant  form  of  religion  in  "Western  Asia.  Star- worship 
was  imagined  to  be  the  most  primitive  phase  of  Oriental 
religion,  and  the  reference  to  it  in  the  book  of  Job  was 
eagerly  seized  upon  as  an  evidence  of  the  antiquity  of 
the  book.  Dupuis  resolved  all  human  forms  of  faith  into 
Zodiacal  symbols,  and  Sir  William  Drummond  went  far 
in  the  same  direction.  That  the  first  gods  of  the  heathen 
were  the  planets  and  stars  of  heairen,  was  regarded  by 
high  authorities  as  an  incontrovertible  fact. 

The  plains  of  Shinar  were  held  to  be  the  earliest  home 
of  this  Sabaism  or  star-worship.  The  astronomy  and  astro 
logy  of  Babylonia  had  been  celebrated  even  by  Greek  and 
Latin  authors,  and  scholars  were  inclined  to  see  in  the 
"  Chaldeean  shepherds'7  the  first  observers  of  the  heavens. 
The  "  astrologers,  the  star-gazers,  the  monthly  prognos 
ticates"  of  Babylon,  are  enumerated  in  the  Old  Testa 
ment  (Is.  xlvii.  13);  and  the  small  cylinders  brought  by 


travellers  from  Bagdad,  with  their  frequent  representations 
of  a  star  or  sun,  seemed  to  leave  no  doubt  that  the  deities 
of  Babylonia  were  in  truth  the  heavenly  bodies.  The 
decipherment  of  the  cuneiform  inscriptions  has  shown 
that  the  belief  in  Babylonian  "Sabaism"  was,  after  all, 
not  altogether  a  chimsera. 

Babylonia  was  really  the  cradle  of  astronomical  obser 
vations.  Long  before  the  lofty  zigurrdti  or  "  towers"  of 
the  temples  were  reared,  where  the  royal  astronomers 
had  their  stations  and  from  whence  they  sent  their  reports 
to  the  king,  the  leading  groups  of  stars  had  been  named, 
a  calendar  had  been  formed,  and  the  eclipses  of  the  sun 
and  moon  had  been  noted  and  recorded.  The  annual 
path  of  the  sun  through  the  sky  had  been  divided  into 
twelve  sections,  like  the  twelve  Icasbu  or  double  hours  ot 
the  day,  and  each  section  had  been  distinguished  by  its 
shief  constellation  or  star.  It  was  thus  that  the  Zodiac 
first  came  into  existence.  The  names  given  to  its  con 
stellations  are  not  only  Accadian,  but  they  also  go  back 
to  the  totemistic  age  of  Accadian  faith.  The  first  sign, 
the  first  constellation,  was  that  of  "the  directing  bull," 
so  named  from  the  solar  bull  who  at  the  vernal  equinox 
began  to  plough  his  straight  furrow  through  the  sky, 
directing  thereby  the  course  of  the  year.  The  last  sign 
but  one  was  "the  fish  of  Ea;"  while  midway  between 
the  two,  presiding  over  the  month  whose  name  was 
derived  from  its  "  facing  the  foundation"  or  "  beginning" 
of  the  year,  was  the  great  star  of  the  Scorpion.  The 
fact  that  the  year  thus  began  with  Taurus  proves  the 
antiquity  of  the  Chaldsean  Zodiac,  and  of  the  months 
of  thirty  days  which  corresponded  to  its  several  signs. 
From  about  B.C.  2500  and  onwards,  the  precession  of 

398  LECTURE    YJ. 

the  equinoxes  caused  Aries,  and  not  Taurus,  to  be  the 
asterism  into  which  the  sun  entered  at  spring-time ;  the 
period  when  Taurus  ushered  in  the  year  reached  back 
from  that  date  to  about  B.C.  4700.  The  Zodiacal  circle 
may  therefore  have  been  invented  nearly  a  thousand 
years  before  Sargon  of  Accad  was  born ;  and  that  it  was 
invented  at  an  early  epoch  is  demonstrated  by  its  close 
connection  with  the  Accadian  calendar. 

With  the  Semitic  domination  of  Sargon  of  Accad, 
however,  Babylonian  astronomy  entered  upon  a  new 
phase.  To  him,  tradition  ascribed  the  compilation  of  the 
standard  work  on  Babylonian  astronomy  and  astrology 
called  the  "  Observations  of  Bel,"  and  afterwards  translated 
into  Greek  by  Berossos.  But  the  edition  of  the  work 
which  we  possess  presupposes  a  much  later  date.  Aries, 
and  not  Taurus,  marks  the  beginning  of  the  year,  and 
the  text  contains  references  to  political  and  geographical 
facts,  some  of  which  are  probably  not  much  older  than 
the  age  of  Assur-bani-pal.  This  is  explained  by  the 
nature  of  the  work.  It  was  not  so  much  a  treatise  on 
astronomy,  as  on  the  pseudo-science  that  had  been  evolved 
out  of  the  observations  of  astronomy.  The  Chaldsean 
priests  had  grasped  but  imperfectly  the  idea  of  causation ; 
their  fundamental  assumption  was  "  post  hoc,  ergo  propter 
hoc;"  when  two  events  had  been  noticed  to  happen  one 
after  the  other,  the  first  was  the  cause  of  the  second. 
Hence  their  anxiety  to  record  the  phenomena  of  the 
heavens  and  the  occurrences  that  took  place  after  each ; 
if  a  war  with  Elam  had  followed  an  eclipse  of  the  sun  on 
a  particular  day,  it  was  assumed  that  a  recurrence  of  the 
eclipse  on  the  same  day  would  be  followed  by  a  recur 
rence  of  a  war  with  Elam.  In  this  way  a  science  of 


astrology  was  created  whose  students  could  foretel  the 
future  by  observing  the  signs  of  the  sky. 

It  is  obvious  that  a  work  whose  object  was  to  connect 
astronomical  observations  with  current  events  must  have 
been  constantly  undergoing  alteration  and  growth.  ISTew 
observations  would  from  time  to  time  be  introduced  into 
it,  sometimes  causing  confusion  or  even  omissions  in  the 
text.  There  are  instances  in  which  we  can  detect  the 
presence  of  observations  placed  side  by  side,  though 
belonging  to  very  different  periods,  or  of  older  records 
which  have  been  supplemented  by  the  calculations  of  a 
later  age.1  In  their  present  form,  therefore,  the  "  Obser 
vations  of  Bel"  have  to  be  used  with  caution  if  we  would 
argue  from  them  to  the  beliefs  and  practices  of  early 

But  the  astrological  science,  or  pseudo-science,  which 
underlies  the  whole  work,  shows  that  even  in  its  earliest 
form  it  was  a  product  of  the  Semitic  epoch.  Between 
the  attitude  of  mind  presupposed  by  this  pseudo-science, 
and  the  attitude  of  mind  presupposed  by  the  magical 
texts  and  Shamanistic  cult  of  Sumerian  Chalda3a,  there 
lies  an  impassable  gulf.  According  to  the  latter,  events 
are  brought  about  by  the  agency  of  the  innumerable 
spirits  of  earth  and  air,  and  can  be  controlled  by  the 
spells  and  exorcisms  of  the  sorcerer;  according  to  the 
astrologer  of  Sargon's  court,  they  are  natural  occurrences, 
caused  and  determined  by  other  natural  occurrences 

1  See  the  examination  of  the  Venus-tablet  (W.  A.  I.  iii.  63),  by  Mr. 
Bosanquet  and  myself  in  the  Monthly  Notices  of  the  Royal  Astrono 
mical  Society,  xl.  9,  pp.  572,  578,  where  it  is  shown  that  a  later 
scribe  has  interpolated  a  series  of  fabricated  observations  in  the  middle 
of  an  older  and  genuine  record. 

400  LECTURE    VI. 

which  can  be  discovered  and  noted  by  the  observer. 
Out  of  the  astrologer  the  astronomer  could  be  born; 
between  science  and  sorcery  there  can  be  only  an  eternal 

It  does  not  follow,  however,  that  the  pre-Semitic 
population  of  Chaldsea  took  no  notice  of  the  phenomena 
of  the  sky.  Unusual  phenomena,  such  as  an  eclipse,  must 
necessarily  excite  the  attention  of  superstitious  and  half- 
civilised  tribes;  and  the  formation  of  a  calendar,  the 
invention  of  the  Zodiac,  and  the  naming  of  the  principal 
constellations,  show  that  a  rudimentary  astronomy  was 
already  in  existence.  Indeed,  the  "  Observations  of  Bel" 
not  only  contain  technical  terms  of  Accadian  origin,  but 
embody  notices  of  phenomena  like  eclipses  which  pre 
suppose  a  long  period  of  earlier  observations.  Unless 
such  observations  had  existed,  even  the  first  compilation 
of  the  work  would  have  been  impossible.  It  was  astro 
logy,  not  the  rudiments  of  astronomy,  for  which  the 
Semites  of  Babylonia  can  claim  the  entire  credit. 

In  the  "  Observations  of  Bel"  the  stars  are  already 
invested  with  a  divine  character.  The  planets  are  gods 
like  the  sun  and  moon,  and  the  stars  have  already  been 
identified  with  certain  deities  of  the  ofncial  pantheon,  or 
else  have  been  dedicated  to  them.  The  whole  heaven,  as 
well  as  the  periods  of  the  moon,  has  been  divided  between 
the  three  supreme  divinities,  Anu,  Bel  and  Ea.  In  fact, 
there  is  an  astro -theology,  a  system  of  Sabaism,  as  it 
would  have  been  called  half  a  century  ago. 

This  astro-theology  must  go  back  to  the  very  earliest 
times.  The  cuneiform  characters  alone  are  a  proof  of 
this.  The  common  determinative  of  a  deity  is  an  eight- 
rayed  star,  a  clear  evidence  that  at  the  period  when  the 


cuneiform  syllabary  assumed  the  shape  in  which  we  know 
it,  the  stars  were  accounted  divine.  We  have  seen,  more 
over,  that  the  sun  and  moon  and  evening  star  were 
objects  of  worship  from  a  remote  epoch,  and  the  sacred- 
ness  attached  to  them  would  naturally  have  been  reflected 
upon  the  other  heavenly  bodies  with  which  they  were 
associated.  Totemism,  too,  implies  a  worship  of  the  stars. 
We  find  that  primitive  peoples  confound  them  with 
animals,  their  automatic  motions  being  apparently  expli 
cable  by  no  other  theory ;  and  that  primitive  Chaldasa 
was  no  exception  to  this  rule  has  been  already  pointed 
out.  Here,  too,  the  sun  was  an  ox,  the  moon  was  a 
steer,  and  the  planets  were  sheep.  The  adoration  of 
the  stars,  like  the  adoration  of  the  sun  and  moon,  must 
have  been  a  feature  of  the  religion  of  primaeval  Shinar. 

But  this  primaeval  adoration  was  something  very  dif 
ferent  from  the  elaborate  astro-theology  of  a  later  day. 
So  elaborate,  indeed,  is  it  that  we  can  hardly  believe  it 
to  have  been  known  beyond  the  circle  of  the  learned 
classes.  The  stars  in  it  became  the  symbols  of  the  official 
deities.  Nergal,  for  example,  under  his  two  names  of 
Sar-nerra  and  'Sulim-ta-ea,  was  identified  with  Jupiter 
and  Mars.1  It  is  not  difficult  to  discover  how  this 
curious  theological  system  arose.  Its  starting-point  was 
the  prominence  given  to  the  worship  of  the  evening  and 
morning  stars  in  the  ancient  religion,  and  their  subsequent 
transformation  into  the  Semitic  Istar.  The  other  planets 
were  already  divine ;  and  their  identification  with  specific 
deities  of  the  official  cult  followed  as  a  matter  of  course. 
As  the  astronomy  of  Babylonia  became  more  developed, 
as  the  heavens  were  mapped  out  into  groups  of  constel- 
1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  57,  52. 


402  LECTTJRT]   VI. 

lations,  each  of  which  received  a  definite  name,  while  the 
leading  single  stars  were  similarly  distinguished  and 
named,  the  stars  and  constellations  followed  the  lead  of 
the  planets.  As  Mars  became  Nergal,  so  Orion  became 

The  priest  had  succeeded  the  old  Sumerian  sorcerer, 
and  was  now  transforming  himself  into  an  astrologer.  To 
this  cause  we  must  trace  the  rise  of  Babylonian  astro- 
theology  and  the  deification  of  the  stars  of  heaven.  The 
Sabianism  of  the  people  of  Harran  in  the  early  centuries 
of  the  Christian  era  was  no  survival  of  a  primitive  faith, 
but  the  last  echo  of  the  priestly  astro-theology  of  Baby 
lonia.  This  astro-theology  had  been  a  purely  artificial 
system,  the  knowledge  of  which,  like  the  knowledge  of 
astrology  itself,  was  confined  to  the  learned  classes.  It 
first  grew  up  in  the  court  of  Sargon  of  Accad,  but  its 
completion  cannot  be  earlier  than  the  age  of  Kham- 
muragas.  In  no  other  way  can  we  explain  the  pro 
minence  given  in  it  to  Merodach,  the  god  of  Babylon. 

But  side  by  side  with  this  "  cunningly  -devised" 
system  of  theology,  the  ancient  cult  of  the  stars — not  as 
manifestations  or  symbols  of  the  official  gods,  but  as 
divine  beings  themselves — maintained  itself  not  only 
among  the  multitude,  but  among  the  higher  orders  as 
well.  The  hemerology  of  the  intercalary  Elul,  enume 
rating  the  feasts  and  fasts  of  the  month  and  the  religious 
services  to  be  performed  on  each,  states  that  the  tenth 
day  was  sacred  to  the  Lady  of  the  Lower  Firmament 
(Bilat-Ekur)  and  the  divine  judges  of  the  starry  sky, 
and  that  offerings  and  sacrifices  should  be  made  during 
the  night  of  it  to  two  particular  stars.1  Towards  the 
*  W.  A.  I.  iv,  32,  47—50.  See  above,  p.  72. 


close  of  the  Assyrian  empire,  we  find  an  Assyrian  scribe 
similarly  laying  down  that  the  king  should  offer  sacrifices 
"  before  the  stars,  before  Assur,  before  Merodach,"  and 
other  gods.1  The  stars,  be  it  noticed,  here  take  the  first 
place,  even  before  Assur,  the  god  of  Assyria,  and  Mero- 
dach,  the  god  of  Babylon,  and  hold  the  same  rank  as  the 
colossal  bulls  and  sacred  rivers  mentioned  by  the  same 
author  as  objects  of  veneration.2 

In  a  country  which  owed  so  much  to  its  great  rivers 
as  Babylonia,  we  should  naturally  expect  to  find  traces 
of  river-worship.  And  such  indeed  is  the  case.  But 
the  rivers  of  Babylonia  were  not,  like  the  Mle,  the 
bringers  of  unmixed  good.  They  might  indeed  be  termed 
"the  bearers  of  fertility,"  but  their  destructive  floods 
needed  curbing  by  dams  and  canals ;  and  "  the  curse  of 
rain"  that  descended  on  the  land  during  the  winter 
months  made  the  rivers  also  curses  instead  of  blessings. 
Hence  it  was  that,  by  the  side  of  the  cult  paid  to  the 
streams,  and  more  especially  to  the  supreme  river-god, 
the  divine  Euphrates,  in  whom  the  people  of  Eridu  had 
seen  the  features  of  Ea,  there  was  a  feeling  of  dread  and 
fear,  which  prevented  the  cult  from  attaining  its  full 
development.  Nevertheless,  an  old  Accadian  text  declares 
that  "  the  name  of  the  man  shall  perish  who  destroys  the 
body  of  a  river  ;"3  and  a  Semitic  hymn,  which  is  prefaced 
by  the  word  siptu,  "  incantation,"  addresses  the  river 
(Euphrates  ?)  in  words  of  adoration  and  respect  :4 

1  W.  A.  I.  iii.  66,  Rev.  12  sq. 

2  W.  A.  I.  iii  66,  Obv.  30—33. 

8  W.  A.  I.  ii.  17,  26,  completed  by  Strassmaier. 
4  S  1704,  Rev. 

2  D  2 

404  LECTURE   VI. 

"Thou,  0  river,  I  have  made  thee  I1 
At  the  time  I  dug  thee,  the  great  gods  (were)  on  thy  bank. 
Ea,  the  king  of  the  deep,  has  created  blessings  in  thy  heart. 
He  lias  presented  his  deluge  before  thee. 
Fire,  might,  brilliance  (and)  terribleness 
have  Ea  and  Merodach  presented  unto  thee. 
Judgment  (?)  hast  thou  given  mankind, 
O  mighty  river,  river  supreme  of  limb.2 
Grant  me  (to  bathe  in)  the  straight  course  of  thy  waters. 
The  (impurity)  which  is  in  my  body  to  thy  channel  carry  it,  even 

to  the  channel.3 

(Take)  it,  bear  it  down  into  thy  stream. 
(Deliver)  me,  and  it  shall  not  come  nigh  my  altar. 
(Purify)  my  sin  that  I  may  live. 
May  I  glorify  (that  which  the  god)  has  created. 
May  I  exalt  (ludlul)  (thy)  spring  (enu)."* 

Side  by  side  with  this  primitive  worship  of  rivers  and 

1  Atti,  ndru,  ebusu  kasum. 

2  Dityni  teniseti  tadin  atti  ndru  rabiti,  ndru  tsiriti  mesreti. 
8  Sa  ina  zumri-ya  basu  (KI-PUR  =  )  kibir-ki  uri-su  kibir-ki. 

*  Here  several  lines  are  lost.  The  text  becomes  legible  again  in  the 
fourth  line  of  the  obverse,  from  which  it  appears  that  the  tablet  con 
tains  charms  against  the  bites  of  serpents.  The  lines  which  are  legible 
read  as  follows  : 

"  Save  me  (suzibaninni)  from  the  venom  .of  these  serpents. 
Myself  and  my  house  never  may  it  destroy,  never  may  it  poison, 

never  may  it  approach ; 
never  may  it  overcome  me ;   may  it  cross  the  river,  may  it  pass 

over  my  life. 
[Lacuna]  pouring  their  poison  into  my  body  like  the  star-coloured 

bird  (tarri). 
May  it  mount  to  heaven  like  an  arrow,  pouring  forth  the  zikhi  of 

its  mission. 

May  (the  serpents),  0  lord,  be  far  from  my  body. 
May  they  depart ,  .  .  and  let  me  glorify  your  LUL-GIR. 
Let  me  exalt  (ludlul)  the  making  of  your  god,  0  Ea,  Samas  and 


The  last  line  shows  that  we  have  here  to  do  with  a  product  of  the 
school  of  Sippara,  as  the  name  of  Samas  is  interpolated  between  the 
old  god  of  healing  spells  and  his  ministering  son. 


springs,  we  find  traces  of  a  worship  of  the  mountains. 
But  this  worship  belonged  rather  to  the  days  when  the 
early  colonists  of  Chaldsea  had  not  as  yet  descended  from 
the  mountains  of  the  East,  and  its  traces  are  a  survival, 
assisted  perhaps  by  the  conquest  of  the  country  in  the 
historical  epoch  by  the  Kosssean  highlanders.  At  any 
rate,  in  Babylonia  itself  the  primitive  cult  of  the  moun 
tains  could  be  carried  on  only  artificially.  The  sacred 
mountains  of  the  plain  were  the  mounds  which  marked 
the  sites  of  ancient  temples,  or  the  towers  which  rose 
within  them  in  order  that  the  priest  might  continue  on 
their  summits  that  close  communion  with  heaven  which 
he  had  once  enjoyed  on  the  high  places  of  the  mountain- 
tops.  In  the  story  of  the  Deluge,  the  mountain  peak  of 
Mzir,  where  the  rescued  hero  of  the  legend  built  his 
altar  and  poured  out  his  offerings,  is  called  a  ziggurrat, 
or  temple -tower.  Conversely,  "the  mountain  of  the 
world"  was  the  name  given  to  a  temple  at  Calah;  and 
the  mountain  of  'Sabu,  to  which  the  god  Zu  took  his  flight, 
was  Kharsak-kalama,  "the  mountain  of  mankind,"  an 
artificial  mound  near  Kis.  The  most  famous  of  these 
sacred  tels  or  mounds,  however,  was  the  famous  tilu  ellu, 
"the  illustrious  mound,"  at  Borsippa,  now  represented 
by  the  Birs-i-Mmrud.  Nebo,  to  whom  the  great  temple 
of  Borsippa  was  dedicated,  is  called  its  god  (W.  A.  I.  ii. 
54,  71).  One  of  "the  three  great"  or  secret  "names  of 
Ami"  was  that  of  "  the  lord  who  issues  forth  from  the 
illustrious  mound"  (W.A.I,  iii.  68,  19),  in  reference  to 
the  fact  that  the  Accadian  prototype  of  ISTebo  was  once 
the  universe  itself,  in  which  the  seven  spheres  of  light 
were  set,  and  around  which  the  ocean-stream  wound  like 
a  rope  or  serpent.  When  the  old  god  of  Borsippa  had 

406  LECTURE    VI. 

passed  into  the  Semitic  Nebo,  the  attributes  which  had 
formerly  connected  him  with  the  firmament  of  heaven 
were  transferred  to  Ami,  the  sky-god  of  the  official  cult. 

A  fragmentary  tablet,  which  gives  us,  as  I  believe,  the 
Babylonian  version  of  the  building  of  the  tower  of  Babel, 
expressly  identifies  it  with  "the  illustrious  mound.'' 
Here  we  are  told  of  the  leader  of  the  rebellion  that  when 
"the  thought  of  his  heart  was  hostile"  and  he  "had 
wronged  the  father  of  all  the  gods,"  when  "he  was 
hurrying  to  seize  Babylon,"  and  "small  and  great  were 
mingling  the  mound,"  "the  divine  king  of  the  illustrious 
mound"  intervened,  "  Ami  lifted  up  (his  hand)  in  front" 
and  prayed  "to  his  father  the  lord  of  the  firmament." 
"All  day  long  he  troubled"  them;  "as  they  lamented 
on  their  couch  he  ended  not"  their  "distress."  "In 
his  wrath  he  overthrows  (their)  secret  counsel;  in  his 
(fury)  he  set  his  face  to  mingle  (their)  designs ;  he  gave 
the  command  (?),  he  made  strange  their  plan."1  The 
very  word  that  the  Hebrew  writer  uses  in  order  to 
explain  the  origin  of  the  name  of  Babylon,  and  which 
the  Authorised  Version  translates  "confound,"  is  here 
employed  of  those  who  "mingled  together"  the  mound, 
and  whose  designs  were  afterwards  themselves  "  mingled" 
by  the  god  of  heaven. 

"The  illustrious  mound"  was  known  as  far  back  as 
the  time  when  the  months  of  the  Accadian  year  were 
named.  The  month  which  corresponded  to  the  Semitic 
Tasrit  or  Tisri,  and  our  September,  was  "  the  month  of 
the  illustrious  mound."  It  would  seem,  therefore,  that 
legend  had  referred  the  attempt  to  build  the  tower  whose 

1  The  text  has  been  published  by  Mr.  Boscawen  in  the  Transactions 
of  the  Society  of  Biblical  Archceolo^  v.  L 


head  should  reach  to  heaven  to  the  autumnal  equinox ; 
at  any  rate,  it  is  clear  that  the  mound  of  Borsippa  was 
not  only  in  existence,  but  was  already  in  a  state  of  ruin 
when  the  Accadian  calendar  was  first  drawn  up. 

The  sacred  mounds  of  Babylonia,  in  fact,  like  the 
Gilgals  of  Palestine,  appear  to  have  been  the  sites  of 
older  structures  which  had  long  fallen  into  decay,  and 
around  which  fancy  and  tradition  were  allowed  to  play 
freely.  They  had  in  this  way  become  veritable  hills — 
tumuli,  as  we  should  term  them  in  our  modern  archaeo 
logical  vocabulary — and  as  such  deserved  the  venerable 
title  of  sad^  or  "  mountain."  New  temples  like  that  of 
"the  mountain  of  the  world"  could  be  named  after  them, 
but  this  did  not  imply  a  recollection  that  the  sacred 
mounds  had  once  been  temples  themselves.  They  were 
rather,  like  the  mountains  of  the  eastern  frontier,  the 
everlasting  altars  of  the  gods,  on  whose  summits  worship 
could  most  fittingly  be  paid  to  the  deities  of  heaven. 
And,  like  the  mountains,  they  were  something  more  than 
altars ;  they  were  themselves  divine,  the  visible  habita 
tions  of  the  spirits  of  the  air.  It  is  possible  that  Prof. 
Friedrich  Delitzsch  is  right  in  proposing  to  see  in  the 
Assyrian  sadu,  or  "  mountain,"  the  explanation  of  the 
Hebrew  title  of  the  Deity,  El  Shaddai.1  At  all  events, 
God  is  compared  to  a  rock  in  the  Old  Testament  (Deut. 
xxxii.  15,  Ps.  xviii.  2),  and  the  worship  of  sacred  stones 
was  widely  spread  through  the  Semitic  world. 

1  Mul-lil  is  called  kur-gal,  sadu  rabu  in  Semitic,  "the  great  mountain," 
W.A.I,  iv.  18,  15;  23,  30;  and  in  v.  44,  41,  "the  god  Kur-gal"  is 
rendered  by  Bel.  In  the  list  of  Babylonian  kings  in  which  the  mean 
ing  of  their  jianies  is  explained,  the  Accadian  E-Guzi-kharsag-men  is 
interpreted  E-Saggil-saddu-ni,  "  E-Saggil  is  our  mountain." 

408  LECTURE    VI. 

Between  the  sacred  mounds  of  Babylonia,  however, 
and  the  sacred  stones  of  Semitic  faith,  there  was  a  wide 
difference,  answering  to  a  difference  in  the  minds  of  the 
two  races  to  whom  these  separate  cults  belonged.  The 
sacred  stone  was  a  Beth-el,  or  "  house  of  god ;"  no  habita 
tion  of  a  mere  spirit,  but  the  dwelling-place  of  deity  itself. 
Its  sanctity  was  not  inherent ;  it  was  sacred  because  it 
had  been  transformed  into  an  altar  by  the  oil  that  was 
poured  out  upon  it  in  libation,  or  the  priest  who  was 
consecrated  to  its  service.  The  worship  of  these  sacred 
stones  was  common  to  all  the  branches  of  the  Semitic 
family.  The  famous  black  stone  of  the  Kaaba  at  Mecca 
is  a  standing  witness  of  the  fact.  So  firmly  rooted  was 
the  belief  in  its  divine  character  among  the  Arabs  of 
Mohammed's  day  that  he  was  unable  to  eradicate  it,  but 
was  forced  to  make  a  compromise  with  the  old  faith  by 
attaching  to  the  stone  the  traditions  of  the  Old  Testament. 
The  black  stone,  though  more  sacred  than  any  others,  did 
not  stand  alone.  All  around  Mecca  there  were  similar 
stones,  termed  Anzab,  three  of  which  may  still  be  seen, 
according  to  Mr.  Doughty,  at  the  gates  of  the  city,  where 
they  go  by  the  names  of  Hobbal,  Lata  and  Uzza.  North 
ward  of  Mecca,  at  Medain-Saleh,  the  burial-place  of  the 
ancient  kingdom  of  the  Nabathaeans,  Mr.  Doughty  has 
discovered  niches  in  the  rock  containing  sacred  stones. 
Above  one  of  them  is  an  inscription  which  shows  that 
the  stone  was  the  symbol  or  habitation  of  the  god  Auda 
(or  Aera) :  "  This  is  the  place  of  prayer  which  Seruh 
the  son  of  Tuka  has  erected  to  Auda  of  Bostra,  the  great 
god,  in  the  month  Msan  of  the  first  year  of  king  Malkhos." 
Within  the  last  few  years,  bas-reliefs  have  been  found  in 
Sicily  and  Tunisia  representing  persons  in  the  act  of 


adoration  before  a  small  triad  of  stone.  "We  are  here  on 
Phoenician  territory,  and  it  is  not  strange  therefore  that 
classical  writers  should  speak  of  the  BcuVvAot  or  Beth-els, 
the  meteoric  stones  which  had  fallen  from  heaven  like 
"  the  image"  of  Artemis  at  Ephesos,  and  were  accord 
ingly  honoured  by  the  Phoenicians.  In  the  mythology 
of  Byblos,  Heaven  and  Earth  were  said  to  have  had  four 
sons,  Ilos  or  El,  Betylos  or  Beth-el,  Dagon  and  Atlas ; 
and  the  god  of  heaven  was  further  declared  to  have 
invented  the  Baityli,  making  of  them  living  stones.1 
Bethuel  is  connected  with  Aram  in  the  Old  Testament 
(Gen.  xxii.  21,  22);  and  we  all  remember  how,  on  his  way 
to  Haran,  Jacob  awakened  out  of  sleep,  saying,  "  Surely 
the  Lord  is  in  this  place,"  and  "took  the  stone  that  he 
had  put  for  his  pillows,  and  set  it  up  for  a  pillar,  and 
poured  oil  upon  the  top  of  it,  and  called  the  name  of  that 
place  Beth-el."  In  Palestine,  however,  the  Beth-els  were 
arranged  in  a  circle  or  Gilgal,  rather  than  singly ;  the 
isolated  monuments  were  the  cones  of  stone  or  the  bare 
tree-trunks  which  symbolised  Asherah,  the  goddess  of 
fertility,  and  Baal  the  Sun-god.  The  sun-pillars  and 
the  asherim  meet  with  frequent  mention  in  the  Biblical 
records;  and  we  may  gain  some  idea  as  to  what  the  latter 
were  like  from  the  pictures  we  have  on  coins  and  gems 
of  the  famous  conical  stone  that  stood  within  the  holy  of 
holies  in  the  temple  of  the  Paphian  Aphrodite,  as  well  as 
from  the  description  given  of  it  by  Tacitus.2  On  a  gem 

1  Euseb.  Prcep.  Evang.  i.  10.    Halevy's  arguments  against  the  iden 
tification  of  Baitylos  and  the  Beth-el  amount  to  very  JiUJft, 

2  Hist.  ii.  2  :  "  Simulacrum  deaa  uon  effigie  humana,  continuus  orbis 
latiore  initio  tenuem  in  ambitum  metis  modo  exsurircus." 

410  LECTURE    VI. 

in  the  British  Museum,  Sin,  "  the  god  of  Hamui,"  is  repre 
sented  by  a  stone  of  the  same  shape  surmounted  by  a 
star.  The  "  pillars  of  the  Sun"  were  also  stones  of  a  like 
form.  "When  the  Phoenician  temple  in  the  island  of  Gozo, 
whose  ruins  are  known  as  the  Temple  of  the  Giants,  was 
excavated,  two  such  columns  of  stone  were  found,  planted 
in  the  ground,  one  of  which  still  remains  in  situ.  We 
cannot  forget  that  even  in  Solomon's  temple,  built  as  it 
was  by  Phoenician  workmen,  there  were  two  columns  of 
stone,  Boaz  and  Yakin,  set  on  either  side  of  the  porch 
(1  Kings  vii.  21),  like  the  two  columns  of  gold  and 
emerald  glass  which  Herodotos  saw  in  the  temple  of 
Melkarth  at  Tyre  (Herodt.  ii.  44). 

The  sacred  stones  which  were  thus  worshipped  in 
Arabia,  in  Phoenicia  and  in  Syria,  were  worshipped  also 
among  the  Semites  of  Babylonia.  There  is  a  curious 
reference  to  the  consecration  of  a  Beth-el  in  the  Epic  of 
Gisdhubar.  "When  the  hero  had  been  dismissed  by  the 
Chaldsean  Noah,  and  his  sickness  had  been  carried  away 
by  the  waters  of  the  sea,  we  are  told  that  "  he  bound 
together  heavy  stones,"  and  after  taking  an  animal  for 
sacrifice,  "  poured  over  it  a  homer "  in  libation.  He 
then  commenced  his  homeward  voyage  up  the  Euphrates, 
having  thus  secured  the  goodwill  of  heaven  for  his 

1  TV.  A.  I.  iv.  51,  v.  52.  vi.  1 — 4.  The  stones  or  asherim  which 
had  thus  been  consecrated  by  oil  being  poured  over  them,  are  frequently 
mentioned  in  the  Babylonian  and  Assyrian  inscriptions  under  the  name 
of  kisalli.  Kisallu  is  a  word  borrowed  from  the  Accadian  ki-zal,  "  place 
of  oil"  or  "  anointing,"  and  represented  the  "  altar,"  so  often  depicted  on 
Assyrian  gems  and  bas-reliefs,  which  consisted  of  an  upright  post  or 
column,  sometimes  with  an  extinguisher-like  top.  A  good  representation 
of  three  of  these  columns,  of  different  forms,  will  be  seen  on  a  Phoeni- 


The  homeward  voyage  of  the  Chaldeean  hero  is  a 
reminder  that  we,  too,  have  finished  our  survey  of  Baby 
lonian  religion,  so  far  as  our  present  knowledge  of  it  will 
allow.  Two  facts  in  regard  to  it  stand  prominently 
forth;  its  essentially  local  character,  and  its  hybrid 
origin.  We  cannot  understand  even  its  most  elementary 
features  unless  we  bear  in  mind  that  it  is  the  product  of 
different  races  and  different  political  systems.  In  detail, 
indeed,  it  may  not  always  be  easy  to  distinguish  between 
Accadian  and  Semitic,  or  between  the  gods  of  Eridu  and 
the  gods  of  Babylon ;  but  the  main  outlines  of  the  picture 
are  clear  and  distinct,  and  any  attempt  to  obliterate  or 
forget  them  will  lead  only  to  confusion  and  error.  That 
the  materials  are  still  wanting  for  a  complete  history  of 
the  rise  and  development  of  Babylonian  religion,  I  am 
only  too  well  aware ;  but  where  completeness  is  unattain 
able,  even  an  imperfect  sketch  has  its  merits  and  value. 
And  the  importance  of  Babylonian  religion  to  the  student 
of  theology  need  not  be  pointed  out.  Apart  from  its 
general  interest  in  illustrating  the  history  of  religion 
among  one  of  the  few  races  of  mankind  who  have  been 
the  pioneers  of  civilisation,  it  has  a  special  interest  from 
its  bearing  on  the  faiths  of  Western  Asia,  and  more  espe 
cially  on  that  of  the  people  of  Israel.  If  I  have  not 
more  frequently  drawn  attention  to  the  latter,  it  has  been 
due  to  my  desire  to  keep  faithfully  to  the  subject  of  my 
Lectures.  I  have  undertaken  to  treat  of  Babylonian  reli 
gion  only,  not  of  Semitic  religion  in  general.  For  such 

cian  gem  procured  by  Dr.  Hayes  Ward  at  Bagdad,  and  published  by 
him  in  the  American  Journal  of  Archaeology,  June  1886,  p.  156.  They 
correspond  to  the  "sun-pillars"  and  asherim,  or  symbols  of  the  goddess 
Asherah,  so  frequently  alluded  to  in  the  Old  Testament. 

412  LECTURE   VI. 

a  task  there  are  others  far  more  competent  than  myself ; 
great  Arabic  or  Syriac  or  Hebrew  scholars,  who  have 
devoted  their  lives  to  the  study  of  one  or  more  of  these 
better-known  Semitic  tongues.  My  own  studies  have  of 
late  years  lain  more  and  more  in  the  ever- widening  circle 
of  Assyrian  research;  here  there  is  enough,  and  more 
than  enough,  to  fill  the  whole  time  and  absorb  the  whole 
energies  of  the  worker ;  and  he  must  be  content  to  confine 
himself  to  his  own  subject,  and  by  honest  labour  therein 
to  accumulate  the  facts  which  others  more  fortunate  than 
he  may  hereafter  combine  and  utilise.  This  is  the  day  of 
specialists;  the  increased  application  of  the  scientific 
method  and  the  rapid  progress  of  discovery  have  made 
it  difficult  to  do  more  than  note  and  put  together  the 
facts  that  are  constantly  crowding  one  upon  the  other 
in  a  special  branch  of  research.  The  time  may  come 
again — nay,  will  come  again — when  once  more  the  ever- 
flowing  stream  of  discovery  will  be  checked,  and  famous 
scholars  and  thinkers  will  arise  to  reap  the  harvest  that 
we  have  sown.  Meanwhile  I  claim  only  to  be  one  of  the 
humble  labourers  of  our  own  busy  age,  who  have  done 
my  best  to  set  before  you  the  facts  and  theories  we  may 
glean  from  the  broken  sherds  of  Nineveh,  so  far  as  they 
bear  upon  the  religion  of  the  ancient  Babylonians.  It  is 
for  others,  whose  studies  have  taken  a  wider  range,  to 
make  use  of  the  materials  I  have  endeavoured  to  collect, 
and  to  discover  in  them,  if  they  can,  guides  and  beacons 
towards  a  purer  form  of  faith  than  that  which  can  be 
found  in  the  official  creeds  of  our  modern  world. 




THE  primitive  language  and  population  of  Chaldsea  have  excited  so 
much  discussion,  and  the  views  held  on  the  subject  by  Assyriologists 
have  undergone  so  much  modification  as  their  knowledge  of  the  inscrip 
tions  has  become  more  extensive  and  exact,  that  it  is  necessary  for  me 
to  state  precisely  the  conclusions  to  which,  as  it  seems  to  me,  the 
evidence  now  at  our  disposal  would  lead  us.  Others  besides  Assyrian 
students  are  probably  aware  that  the  question  has  aroused  more  than 
one  fierce  controversy ;  every  step  in  advance  has  been  gained  after  a 
good  deal  of  fighting ;  and  not  only  the  name  and  relationship  of  the 
pre-Semitic  language  of  Babylonia,  but  its  priority  to  the  Semitic 
Babylonian  and  even  its  very  existence,  have  been  made  the  subjects  of 
animated  discussion.  The  discussion,  it  is  true,  has  usually  been  the 
result  of  misunderstandings  and  errors,  of  hasty  conclusions  and  misin 
terpreted  facts ;  but  in  this  respect  it  has  not  differed  widely  from 
most  other  discussions  in  science  or  theology. 

The  decipherment  of  the  Assyrian  inscriptions  had  not  proceeded 
far  before  it  became  clear  that  the  Assyrian  syllabary  was  not  of 
Semitic  origin.  This,  at  least,  seemed  to  the  first  decipherers  the  most 
natural  way  of  accounting  for  the  curious  fact  that  the  characters  pos 
sessed  phonetic  values  which  did  not  correspond  to  the  Semitic  words 
represented  by  the  same  characters  when  used  ideographically.  Tho 
character  which  denoted  "a  head,"  for  example,  not  only  possessed  the 
Semitic  value  of  m,  but  also  the  non-Semitic  value  of  sag.  Moreover, 
the  syllabary  expressed  very  imperfectly  the  sounds  of  a  Semitic  lan 
guage.  The  distinctive  Semitic  sounds  of  ayin,  teth  and  tsadde,  were 
wanting  in  it,  or  else  represented  defectively.  In  place  of  the  clear 
pronunciation  of  the  consonants  which  distinguishes  a  Semitic  idiom, 
it  was  found  that  surds  and  sonants  were  confounded  together  at  the 
end  of  a  syllable.  It  appeared  evident,  therefore,  that  the  syllabary, 
the  pictorial  origin  of  which  was  soon  recognised,  must  have  been 

416  APPENDIX   I. 

invented  by  a  non-Semitic  people,  and  handed  on  by  them  to  the 
Semitic  populations  who  inhabited  the  valleys  of  the  Tigris  and  Eu 
phrates  during  the  historical  period.  Dr.  Hincks  proposed  the  name 
of  "  Accadian"  for  the  old  language  and  its  speakers,  and  Dr.  Oppert 
believed  that  he  saw  in  it  marks  of  relationship  to  the  languages  of 
the  "Turanian"  or  Ural-Altaic  family. 

It  was  not  long  before  this  view  of  the  origin  of  the  Assyrian  sylla 
bary  appeared  to  find  a  verification,  partly  in  the  discovery  of  early 
Babylonian  inscriptions  written  by  means  of  it  in  a  non-Semitic  idiom, 
partly  in  the  "bilingual  texts"  of  Assur-bani-paPs  library,  in  which  the 
words  and  documents  of  the  old  idiom  were  interpreted  by  interlinear 
or  parallel  translations  in  Semitic  Assyrian.  All  that  remained  was  to 
analyse  the  words  and  forms  of  the  old  language — no  easy  task,  how 
ever,  when  it  is  remembered  that  they  are  for  the  most  part  written 
ideographically,  and  not  phonetically.  Dr.  Oppert's  first  essays  in  this 
direction  were  followed  by  an  article  of  mine  in  the  Journal  of  Philology 
for  1870,  in  which  I  endeavoured  to  give  the  first  fairly  complete 
sketch  of  "Accadian"  grammar.  Three  years  later  this  was  systema- 
tised  and  extended  by  the  brilliant  and  inexhaustible  pen  of  Fran§ois 

Dr.  Oppert  objected  to  the  term  "  Accadian,"  which,  had  been 
adopted  from  Dr.  Hincks  by  Lenormant,  Delitzsch  and  myself,  and 
proposed  instead  of  it  the  term  "  Sumerian."  From  an  early  epoch 
Chaldaea  had  been  divided  into  two  main  divisions,  called  respectively 
Accad  and  Sumer ;  and  the  monarchs  who  claimed  sovereignty  over  the 
whole  country  entitled  themselves  accordingly  "  kings  of  Sumer  and 
Accad,"  in  contradistinction  to  those  who  could  claim  to  be  rulers  of 
"  the  land  of  Accad"  only.1  To  Dr.  Haigh  belongs  the  credit  of  first 
pointing  out  that  Sumer  is  the  Shinar  of  the  Old  Testament  f  while 
George  Smith,  with  his  usual  divinatory  instinct,  perceived  that  it 
must  represent  southern  Babylonia,  Accad  being  the  district  round  the 
capital  city  of  Accad,  or  Agade  (formerly  read  Agane).  George  Smith's 
views,  however,  were  not  at  first  adopted  by  other  .Assyriologists,  and 

1  Kengi  Agade,  misinterpreted  in  later  days  to  mean  "  Sumer  and  Accad." 

2  Halevy's  "  Rabbinical"  etymology  of  Shinar  does  not  require  refutation. 
Already  in  Gen.  xi.  2,  the  name  of  Shinar  has  been  extended  to  denote  the 
whole  of  Babylonia,  as  in  Daniel  and  Zech.  v.  11,  just  as  in  Micah  v.  6,  the 
dominion  of  Nimrod  seems  to  be  extended  to  Assyria ;  but  in  Gen.  x.  10, 
the  name  is  still  confined  to  southern  Babylonia,  and  is  therefore  used  to 
indicate  the  southern  position  of  Calneh. 

APPENDIX   I.  417 

it  is  only  within  the  last  three  or  four  years  that  newly-found  inscrip 
tions  have  shown  them  to  be  correct. 

The  arguments  by  which  Dr.  Oppert  supported  his  proposal  were 
not  convincing,  and  for  some  time  he  secured  no  converts.  But  the 
researches  of  Professor  Paul  Haupt,  one  of  the  ablest  and  best-trained 
of  the  younger  band  of  Assyriologists,  threw  an  entirely  new  light  on 
the  matter.  I  had  noticed  (in  1874)  the  existence  of  more  than  one 
dialect  in  Proto-Chaldsean,  and  in  a  paper  on  Accadian  Phonology  (in 
1877)  had  tried  to  show  that  our  "Accadian"  texts  contain  newer  as 
well  as  older  forms,  and  that  many  of  them  are  composed  in  a  language 
which  exhibits  all  the  signs  of  long  decay ;  but  it  was  reserved  for 
Prof.  Haupt  to  demonstrate  scientifically  that  there  were  two  clearly- 
marked  dialects  of  Accadian,  and  to  point  out  the  principal  charac 
teristics  of  each.  He  assumed  that  the  standard  dialect,  that  which 
preserved  the  old  language  in  its  purest  and  most  archaic  form,  wag 
the  dialect  of  Accad  or  northern  Babylonia ;  the  second  dialect,  which 
he  regarded  as  standing  to  the  other  in  the  relation  of  a  daughter  or  a 
younger  sister,  being  the  dialect  of  Sumer  or  the  south.  My  own  view 
had  originally  been  the  converse  of  this,  but  Prof.  Haupt's  arguments 
brought  me  over  to  his  side.  Subsequently,  however,  his  assumption 
was  attacked  by  Dr.  Hommel;  and  after  a  considerable  amount  of 
hesitation,  I  have  arrived  at  the  conviction  that  Dr.  Hommel  is  right. 

"The  dialect"  which  Prof.  Haupt  would  make  Sumerian  and  Dr. 
Hommel  Accadian,  exhibits  the  language  of  early  Chaldsea  in  a  decayed 
and  degenerated  form.  It  is  largely  affected  by  Semitic  influence; 
not  only  has  it  adopted  Semitic  words,  but  Semitic  idioms  as  well. 
These  Semitisms,  moreover,  are  partly  popular,  partly  literary  in  origin  ; 
some  of  them,  that  is,  are  manifestly  the  introductions  of  a  learned 
class  who  have  imported  them  into  Proto-Chaldaean  much  in  the  same 
way  as  Greek  terms  have  been  imported  into  English  by  men  of 
science,  or  French  expressions  by  litterateurs.  Now  it  was  in  northern 
Babylonia,  and  not  in  the  south,  that  Semitic  influence  and  Semitic 
supremacy  first  made  themselves  felt.  It  was  at  Accad  that  the  earliest 
Semitic  empire,  that  of  Sargon,  first  grew  up,  and  it  was  there  that 
the  first  Semitic  library  was  founded  under  the  patronage  of  a  Semitic 
monarch.  Sumer  continued  much  longer  under  Proto-ChaldaBan  rule  ; 
and  it  is  possible,  if  not  probable,  that  one  or  more  Proto-Chald&an 
dialects  continued  to  be  spoken  in  Sumer  down  to  the  days  of  Nebu 
chadnezzar  himself. 

Whether  the  Semitic  name  of  Accad  is  derived  from  the  Proto-Chal- 
dsean  Agade,  or  the  Proto-Chaldsean  Agadc  from  the  Semitic  Accad,  we 


418  APPENDIX   I. 

do  not  know ;  but  it  is  certain  that  the  importance  of  the  city  date* 
only  from  the  Semitic  epoch  of  Babylonia.  The  name  is  represented 
by  a  compound  ideograph  (BUR-BUR)  which  signifies  "a  mound,"  and 
a  gloss  informs  us  that  this  ideograph  was  pronounced  tilla.1  Sir 
Henry  Ravvlinson  saw  in  tilla  a  derivative  from  elu,  "to  ascend,"  with 
the  signification  of  "  high-lands ;"  and  I  formerly  believed  that  support 
for  this  view  could  be  found  in  the  word  Accad  itself,  which  I  con 
nected  with  a  supposed  Proto-Chaldaean  oka,  "  to  lift  up."  But  this 
belief  was  entirely  wrong.  Accad  has  nothing  to  do  with  aJca,  which 
means  "  to  love,"  and  tilla  is  the  common  Assyrian  tillu,  "  a  tel"  It 
signifies  the  mound  on  which  a  city  or  temple  stood,  as  well  as  the 
mound  formed  by  the  debris  of  a  ruined  town.  Accad  was  therefore 
known  as  Tilla,  either  because  it  stood  on  the  site  of  an  earlier  pre- 
Semitic  city,  or  because  of  the  lofty  artificial  platform  on  which  it 
was  built. 

The  compound  ideograph  to  which  the  pronunciation  of  Tilla  was 
attached  was  applied  by  Sargon  to  the  country  of  Ararat  or  Armenia. 
This  may  have  been  due  to  a  simple  confusion  of  two  geographical 
names  which  had  nothing  to  do  with  one  another.  In  the  tablet 
which  gives  us  the  name  of  Tilla,  and  which  appears  to  have  been 
intended  to  explain  difficult  words  in  texts  emanating  from  the  library 
of  Accad,  Tilla  is  interpreted  to  mean  Urdhu.  Since  the  Euphrates 
at  Sippara  was  termed  the  ITrudtuv,  or  "  river  of  bronze"  (from  the 
Proto-Chaldsean  urud,  "bronze"2),  it  seems  probable  that  Urdhu  is  a 
Semitised  form  of  Urud,  a  name  which  we  may  suppose  to  have  been 
given  to  Sippara  or  Accad  and  the  surrounding  district  in  consequence 
of  the  bronze  with  which  their  edifices  were  adorned.  The  resemblance 
of  Urdhu  to  Urardhu  or  Ararat,  the  Assyrian  designation  of  Armenia, 
may  have  led  the  Assyrian  king  to  transfer  an  ideograph  which  pro 
perly  denoted  the  north  of  Babylonia  to  the  mountainous  land  of 

However  this  may  be,  Dr.  Hommel  has,  I  believe,  made  it  clear 
that  the  texts  whose  primitive  home  can  be  shown  to  have  been 
Sumer  are  in  the  older  and  standard  Proto-Chaldsean  dialect,  while 
those  which  display  a  later  and  more  Semitised  phase  of  the  language 
belong  primarily  to  Accad.  At  the  same  time,  it  must  not  be  forgotten 
that  the  priests  of  Accad  not  unfrequently  attempted  to  write  in  the 
archaic  and  revered  language  of  Sumer ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  texts 
which  originated  in  Sumer  have  undergone  such  extensive  modifi- 

1  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  13.  2  W.  A.  I.  ii.  48,  47. 

APPENDIX   I.  419 

cations  by  repeated  revision  as  to  be  overlaid  with  the  characteristics 
of  the  northern  dialect.  It  is  also  not  impossible  that  changes  similar 
to  those  undergone  by  the  old  language  in  Accad  may  at  a  later  time 
have  overtaken  the  dialect  of  the  south,  so  that  phonetic  peculiarities, 
which  seem  to  us  to  belong  to  Accad,  may  really  belong  to  the  lan 
guage  of  Sumer  in  a  later  stage  of  decay. 

I  must  here  diverge  for  a  moment  in  order  to  emphasise  the  fact 
that  very  few  of  the  earlier  texts  of  Sumer  and  Accad  have  come  down 
to  us  in  their  original  form.  With  the  exception  of  the  contempo 
raneous  inscriptions  of  the  kings  of  Tel-loh  or  Mugheir,  and  .perhaps 
also  of  the  hymns  to  the  Sun-god  of  Sippara,  which  were  composed  in 
literary  "  Accadian"  at  a  time  when  the  old  language  had  long  become 
extinct,  the  earlier  literature  of  Chalda3a  has  been  subjected  to  altera 
tions  and  modifications  of  the  most  extensive  kind.  Documents  of 
different  age  and  origin  have  been  pieced  together ;  words,  lines,  and 
even  whole  passages  have  been  freely  interpolated ;  glosses  have  crept 
into  the  text  from  the  margin ;  the  language  has  been  modernised  again 
and  again ;  and  the  errors  of  copyists,  intentional  or  unconscious,  have 
made  their  way  into  the  text.  The  corruption  of  the  text  has  been 
further  increased  by  the  imperfect  acquaintance  of  many  of  the  later 
editors  with  the  pre-Semitic  dialects  of  Chaldaea.  This  has  been  a 
frequent  cause  of  error,  and  in  one  case  at  least  has  resulted  in  maca 
ronic  verses,  the  Semitic  portion  of  which  has  no  real  connection  with 
the  Sumerian.1  It  is  true  that  the  scribes  were  assisted  in  under 
standing  the  earlier  texts  by  commentaries,  in  which  explanations 
were  given  of  the  more  difficult  words  and  ideographs  ;  but  the  expla 
nations  of  the  commentators  were  not  always  correct,  while  the  com 
mentaries  or  so-called  "bilingual  lists"  have  themselves  suffered  from 
the  mistakes  and  ignorance  of  later  editors.  The  scrupulous  care  with 
which  the  scribes  of  Assur-bani-pal  copied  the  tablets  brought  from 
Babylonia,  noting  the  places  where  there  was  "  a  lacuna"  (khibi)  or 
"a  recent  lacuna"  (khibi  essu\  giving  alternative  characters  where  the 
scribe  was  uncertain  as  to  the  Assyrian  character  to  which  the  Baby 
lonian  original  corresponded,  and  at  times  frankly  confessing  the 
inability  of  the  copyist  to  understand  his  copy  (ul  idi,  "  I  do  not 
know"),  was  a  growth  of  comparatively  modern  date.  The  Babylonian 
scribes  may  have  shown  the  same  carefulness  for  a  few  centuries  before 
the  age  of  Assur-bani-pal,  and  efforts  may  have  been  made  to  secure 
the  accurate  reproduction  of  the  religious  texts  as  soon  as  they  acquired 

1  See  above,  p.  80. 


420  APPENDIX   I. 

a  sacred  character ;  but  for  at  least  two  thousand  years  after  the  era  of 
Sargon  of  Accad  all  the  causes  of  corruption  above  enumerated  were 
freely  at  work,  and  it  was  just  during  this  period  that  the  larger  part 
of  the  Babylonian  literature  we  possess  assumed  its  present  form.  The 
only  wonder  is  that  the  non-Semitic  portion  of  it  should  have  been 
handed  down  as  correctly  as  it  is.  It  was  probably  in  the  time  of 
Khamnraragas  (B.C.  2300)  that  the  main  bulk  of  it  came  into  exist 
ence.  There  seems  to  have  been  a  literary  revival  at  that  period,  not 
unlike  the  literary  revival  in  Wales  in  the  12th  and  13th  centuries. 
A  considerable  number  of  the  older  commentaries  were  probably 
composed  at  the  time  ;  at  all  events,  the  Epic  of  Gisdhubar  and  other 
similar  works  are  in  all  likelihood  to  be  referred  to  this  date.  Under 
Khammuragas,  Babylon  became  the  dominant  state  in  Babylonia,  and 
absorbed  the  older  fame  of  the  Semitic  empire  at  Accad  and  Sippara ; 
hence  it  is  that  the  list  of  Babylonian  dynasties  begins  with  the 
dynasty  of  Khammuragas,  and  that  while  the  antediluvian  kings  of 
Berossos  belong  for  the  most  part  to  Larankha  or  Surippak,  the  near 
neighbour  of  Accad,  the  first  of  them,  Aloros,  is  made  a  native  of 

But  behind  the  Semitic  legends  of  Accad  and  Babylon,  as  may  be 
seen  from  the  foregoing  Lectures,  lie  older  non-Semitic  legends  which 
speak  of  the  origin  of  culture  and  civilisation  in  Chalda3a.  These 
legends  describe  it  as  beginning  on  the  shores  of  the  Persian  Gulf  and 
working  its  way  to  the  cities  of  the  north.  This  is  in  complete  harmony 
with  what  we  have  found  to  be  the  evidence  of  the  native  inscriptions. 
Eridu,  the  primaeval  capital  of  the  south,  was  the  first  home  of  the 
god  of  culture  and  healing,  and  it  is  with  Eridu  and  its  deities  that  the 
oldest  religious  texts  are  intimately  associated.  As  these  texts  are  in 
the  standard  dialect,  it  would  follow  that  Dr.  Hornmel  is  right  in 
regarding  it  as  the  dialect  of  Sumer. 

But  yet  more.  The  cuneiform  system  of  writing  was  at  the  outset 
pictorial,  and  its  earliest  documents  would  therefore  be  mainly  written 
with  ideographs,  and  not  with  phonetic  signs.  Now  this  is  one  of  the 
peculiarities  which  distinguish  the  texts  of  the  standard  dialect  from 
those  composed  in  the  second  dialect,  and  consequently  justifies  us  in 
assigning  them  to  Eridu  and  the  surrounding  district.  If  once  we 
assume  that  the  standard  dialect  is  that  of  Sumer,  and  the  secondary 
dialect  that  of  Accad,  everything  falls  naturally  into  its  place. 

The  so-called  "bilingual  lists"  sometimes  qualify  a  word  or  form 
belonging  to  the  secondary  or  Accadian  dialect  by  a  couple  of  ideographs 
which  literally  mean  "  the  language  of  woman."  This  "  woman's  Ian- 

APPENDIX   I.  421 

guage"  has  been  supposed  to  have  a  grammatical  reference,  denoting 
perhaps  what  we  should  call  a  "  weak  form ;"  but  though  grammatical 
terms  were  certainly  used  by  the  compilers  of  the  lists,  it  is  only  those 
of  a  more  obvious  character,  such  as  "singular"  and  "plural,"  "mas 
culine"  and  "feminine;"  and  I  pre-fer  to  see  in  the  expression,  "woman's 
language,"  a  reference-  to  one  of  those  numerous  cases  in  which  the 
language  of  the  women  and  the  nursery  is  distinguished  from  that  of  the 
men.  In  northern  Babylonia,  where  Semites  and  non-Semites  inter 
mingled  from  an  early  period,  there  would  have  been  reasons  in  plenty 
for  such  an  appellation.  Semitic  wives  would  not  have  spoken  Surne- 
i-ian  with  the  same  purity  as  their  non-Semitic  husbands  ;  while,  on  the 
other  hand,  the  dialect  of  the  Sumerian  wife  would  have  been  regarded 
by  her  Semitic  husband  as  essentially  a  feminine  idiom.1 

That  more  than  one  dialect  prevailed  in  Ch